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The Army Service Forces 



John D. Millett 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 53-61716 

First Printed 1954— CMH Pub 3-1 

For sulc by the SuuoJintendenl o( L>oi' mucins, U.S. (.lovemmciu Pi inting UITire 
Washington, D.C. 2OI0J 

. . to Those Who Served 


If a reader expects to find a uniform pattern of treatment in the similarly 
upholstered volumes of this series, he will soon discover his-error on reading this 
one. The author has chosen to relate the story of the Army Service Forces by 
concentrating on the activities of its organizer and commander, Lt. Gen. 
Brehon B. Somervell. As a staff officer to General Somervell during the war 
and one who was personally acquainted with his views, particularly on matters 
of organization, Professor Millett is exceptionally well qualified to deal with his 
subject in the manner he has chosen. 

Some may complain that the biographical approach, with all the advan- 
tages it has in enabling an author to bring life and action into a narrative, has 
serious limitations when used in dealing with the history of an institution, such 
as the Army Service Forces. Others, familiar with the atmosphere in which the 
agency operated, may differ with the emphasis on this or that episode or prob- 
lem that resulted from seeing its history mainly through the eyes of its wartime 
chief. Yet it must be recognized that the huge conglomeration of activities that 
constituted Army Service Forces had its chief element of unity, its one common 
denominator, in the driving energy and aggressive personality of its com- 
mander. This infused his organization with a sense of common purpose that 
many a smaller and functionally better integrated organization lacked. Neces- 
sarily General Somervell's impact on the various components of the Army 
Service Forces was uneven and certain problems received more of his attention 
than others. This was particularly true of organizational matters which General 
Somervell considered the key to operational success. The changes he sought to 
introduce were many and basic. As was to be expected, they often met with op- 
position, especially from some of the technical services which resisted the bridle 
the more because of their traditional freedom of action. 

The perspective of the author is that of the "top side" rather than of the 
official at the operational level. Little attempt has been made to go into detail 
on the many activities and responsibilities of the Army Service Forces. For more 
complete information concerning them, the reader can look to other volumes of 
United States Army in World War II. 

Washington, D. C. 
15 January 1953 

Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 
Chief of Military History 


The Author 

John David Millett, Ph.D., LL.D., President of Miami University, earned 
his doctorate in political science at Columbia University where for a number of 
years he also served on the faculty. His experience as an adviser and adminis- 
trator in government agencies and in the field of higher education has been 
extensive. Among these may be mentioned service on the National Resources 
Planning Board, the Committee on Organization of the Executive Branch of 
the Government, The President's Committee on Administrative Management, 
and the Commission on Financing Higher Education. For the last-named 
organization, he served as Executive Director. During World War II he was 
commissioned and brought to Washington to serve on General Somervell's staff 
as an expert adviser on organizing the newly created Army Service Forces. He 
also acted as the wartime historian for that command. Through both training 
and personal experience he was the logical person to prepare this particular 

Colonel, Reserve Corps 
Deputy Chief Historian 



This account of the Army Service Forces in World War II had its origin in 
the general effort of the Federal Government to record wartime administrative 
experiences. On 4 March 1942 President Roosevelt wrote to the director of the 
Bureau of the Budget expressing his interest in the steps taken to keep a 
"current record of war administration" and urged their extension wherever 
possible. 1 

The War Department in turn issued instructions on 15 July 1942 for the 
commanding general of the Army Service Forces to appoint an historical officer 
and to arrange for an historical program. This communication was addressed 
also to the commanding generals of the Army Ground Forces and of the Army 
Air Forces. I was initially appointed historical officer of the Army Service 
Forces by General Somervell. As a member of the Administrative Management 
Branch in the Control Division of Army Service Forces headquarters, I partic- 
ipated actively in many organizational studies and in time, assumed other 
current staff responsibilities within the Army Service Forces. Thus, from the 
beginning, I had an opportunity to observe organizational experiences at 
close range. 

In the two months preceding my departure from the Army in January 1946, 
I dictated a draft account of the major organizational events in the history of 
the Army Service Forces from 9 March 1942 to the end of 1945. This account 
was deposited in an historical file along with various historical records prepared 
within the Army Service Forces during the war. Subsequently, the Office of the 
Chief of Military History invited me to revise and extend the original draft, and 
this volume for the series United States Army in World War II is the result. 

The present volume is based on the earlier draft and on other materials 
which were not then readily available. In addition, it relies heavily on the com- 
plete personal files of General Somervell which have been preserved intact and 
which for the first time are here used as the basis for a published work. But this 
account has not been prepared solely from official documents and other papers. 
I was present at meetings and conferences of which no records were ever kept, 
and have tried to convey the impression left by these discussions in various gen-, 
eralizations and observations. In such instances the reader will of course find no 
footnote references. 

' This letter and others on the subject will be found in the preface to The United States at War, 
prepared by the Bureau of the Budget, and published by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 


In addition, I have had the active assistance of General Somervell, the com- 
manding general of the Army Service Forces in World War II. I first became 
acquainted with General Somervell in New York City in September 1936. It 
was my privilege to be associated in a small way with his work as head of the 
Army Service Forces in World War II. His aid in providing me with his 
personal recollections of persons and events is gratefully acknowledged. The 
assistance of a personal friend, Maj. Gen. Clinton F. Robinson (USA retired), 
has been equally invaluable. 

In my conversations with the chief historian of the Office of the Chief of 
Military History, it was agreed that any organizational account of the Army 
Service Forces would be inadequate which did not give proper emphasis to the 
personality of its commanding general. This story of the Army Service Forces, 
then, has been told from the point of view of its commanding general. At the 
same time, this is not meant to obscure the fact that the work of the Army Serv- 
ice Forces was accomplished by thousands of persons in and out of uniform 
scattered throughout the world. I would not belittle the contribution of any one 
of them. 

The focus of attention throughout this volume has been the organizational 
experience of the Army Service Forces. It was impossible here to tell the full 
story of the many vital problems of the ASF. These accounts will be found in 
other volumes dealing with the production, supply, and administrative activ- 
ities of the Army. 

I have been conscious of the very different audiences who might be inter- 
ested in this record. This is not a "popular" history. Its primary purpose is to 
provide a record of events which would be available to and could be used by 
others who, in subsequent years, might have related responsibilities. In other 
words, the primary audience would be future administrative officers, plus a few 
others interested in comparable administration experiences. This concept has 
provided me with a general frame of reference. 

Yet in endeavoring to tell a complete story about the Army Service Forces' 
organizational experience, it was necessary to discuss many of the substantive 
problems and major issues confronting agencies of the War Department. These 
are matters which are probably of much more general interest than administra- 
tive history. For example, the three chapters dealing with the relations of the 
Army Service Forces to the War Production Board are in many ways a separate 
episode which may be of more extensive interest than other chapters dealing 
with the internal organization of the Army Service Forces. But in thus weaving 
together many different events and circumstances, the effort was made to retain 
a central thread of unity. It was simply this: what was the Army Service Forces, 
how did it come to be, what was it supposed to do, and how did it do it? 

It was perhaps inevitable in writing this account to tell. primarily the story 
of controversies. The Army Service Forces was a controversial administrative 
experiment. There are some in the Army and elsewhere today who would ban 
all discussion of the Army Service Forces and who wish never again to see any- 
thing resembling an offspring. This attitude may disappear with time, but it has 
been one of my chief aims to explore the many controversies and differences of 


opinion which arose so that others may more accurately assess the basis of the 
hostile reactions. General Somervell too was a controversial figure. If he is to be 
known solely by what his critics have said about him, then a most distorted 
picture of an able officer and administrator will be perpetuated. I have 
endeavored to place this picture back in proper focus. I cannot satisfy the par- 
tisans of General Somervell, and there are many. Nor can I expect to soothe the 
ruffled feelings of all those who think they were harshly treated by General 
Somervell. This account is friendly but at the same time, it is hoped, balanced. 

It has not been my purpose here to chronicle all the activities and achieve- 
ments of the Army Service Forces. Any such attempt of necessity would have 
been an almost endless one. Nor has it been my purpose, as easy as such an 
effort would have been, to stress only the accomplishments, the satisfactory 
relationships of so many individuals in the Army Service Forces, both with one 
another and with members of other military and civilian agencies. My purpose 
rather has been to help clarify the misunderstanding that now exists, and that 
otherwise might well continue to exist, with regard to the real nature of the 
Army Service Forces. 

After completion of the original draft of this volume, other responsibilities 
prevented me from giving full personal attention to revision of the manuscript. 
The Office of the Chief of Military History made available the services of Dr. 
Jonathan Grossman who checked references, investigated other sources of ma- 
terials, and edited sections of the manuscript. His assistance was both thorough 
and sympathetic. Much of whatever merit the present volume may have 
belongs to Dr. Grossman's generous assistance. I have also had the help of many 
other persons in reviewing the manuscript and checking its facts. These are too 
numerous to mention in full, but I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. 
Kent Roberts Greenfield, Chief Historian; Lt. Col. LeoJ. Meyer, Deputy Chief 
Historian; Dr. Richard M. Leighton, Chief of the Logistics Section; and Dr. 
Stetson Conn, Chief of the Western Hemisphere Section. In addition, I appre- 
ciate greatly the careful reading of the entire manuscript by Lt, Gen. LeRoy 
Lutes, who succeeded General Somervell in command of the Army Service 
Forces. Mr. David Jaffe was editor of the volume, Miss Nancy L. Easterling did 
the copy editing, Mrs. Pauline Dodd prepared the index, and Miss Margaret 
E. Tackley was the photographic editor. 

It should be remembered that I alone stand responsible for the statements 
of fact and opinion expressed. The Office of the Chief of Military History has 
not censored my observations in any way, even though it has been critical of 
certain points of view contained in the manuscript. Despite what the term 
"official history" may imply to many, this volume represents personal judg- 
ments, which, it is hoped, few will consider unreasonable on the basis of the 
evidence presented. 


Columbia University 
15 April 1953 



Chapter Page 


The Choice of General Somervell To Command the ASF 2 

Characteristics of the Choice 6 

The Creation of the Army Service Forces 



Changes in the National Defense Act 13 

The Pershing Reorganization 16 

Developments Between 1921-1941 18 


Reorganization of the OUSW 26 

Reorganization of G—4 28 

The Reorganization of 9 March 1942 36 

Some Problems of the Reorganization 39 


The Role of the ASF in the War Department 


ASF 45 

Lend-lease 49 

The Relation Between Strategy and Supply 53 



North Africa 60 

Operations in Europe, 1943 62 

The Post-Casablanca Trip 63 

The TRIDENT Conference 67 

The Build-up for OVERLORD 68 

The Early Campaigns in the Pacific 69 

The QUADRANT Conference 70 


Chapter Page 


The Cairo and Tehran Conferences 79 

Preparations for VERLORD 80 

Italy and France 81 

Supply Crisis in the European Theater 83 

Malta and Yalta 86 

The War in the Pacific 86 

Potsdam 89 

Other Overseas Operations 90 


Medical Service 93 

Communications and Photographic Activities 96 

Construction 98 

Personnel 99 

ASF Relations With G-l 104 

Police Activities, Internal Security, and Custody of Military Prisoners ... 105 

Legal Activities 106 

Fiscal Activities 106 

Postal Service and Publications 108 

The Management of Posts, Camps, and Stations 108 

Training 109 



Procurement and Supply Relationships 125 

The Conflict Over Post and Base Management 129 

The Controversy Over Allotment of Funds 134 





Public Relations 148 

Budgeting 150 

The Civil Affairs Division 153 

Research and Development 154 

National Guard and Executive for Reserve and Reserve Officers' Training 

Corps Affairs 155 

Postwar Planning 155 

Counterintelligence 155 


Chapter Page 


ASF 157 

The AGF and the ASF 158 

Somervell Raises a Basic Issue 163 

The Effort To Resolve the Issue 165 

The War Department Decision 168 

The Relations of the ASF and the AAF to the Technical Services 168 



The Undersecretary 173 

The Chief of Staff 177 

The Role of the ASF in Industrial Mobilization 

Chapter Page 



The Industrial Mobilization Plan 186 

Industrial Preparation for War 1 87 

The Creation of the WPB 189 

The Army-WPB Agreement 190 

Trouble Starts 193 

The Agreement on Field Offices 198 


RIALS 201 

Revision of the Priorities System 203 

Allocating Raw Materials 207 

TION 213 

Production Scheduling 220 

Reconversion 226 

Smaller War Plants 233 


Research and Development 236 

Special Handling of Food, Petroleum, Rubber 239 

WMC and Labor Relations 243 

Price Control 246 

Housing and Community Facilities 250 

The Office of War Mobilization 251 


Chapter Page 


Ocean Transportation 254 

Rail Transportation 262 

Lend-lease 266 

Civilian Defense 267 


Desirable Organization for Army-Navy Collaboration 277 


Military Procurement 282 

Did the Army Want Control of the Civilian Economy? 288 

Internal Organization of the ASF 

Chapter Page 


Creation of the Transportation Corps 298 

General Depots 300 

Adjustments in Responsibilities of Technical Services 302 

Internal Organization 304 

Field Installations of Technical Services 305 

Technical Service Duties of Army-Wide Scope 308 


The Service Command Reorganization 314 

Pressure for Decentralization 317 

The Mission of the Service Commands 319 

The Supervision of Class IV Installations 326 

The Handling of Labor Supply Problems in the Field 329 

Organization Within Service Commands 332 


The Merging of the OUSW and G-4 338 

The Administrative Services 347 

General Organization of the Staff 351 

The Technical Services as Staff Divisions 354 

Inter staff Relations 357 

A Functional Staff 359 


Urgency 366 

Chief Lieutenants 369 

Sense of Organization 371 


Chapter Page 


The Quest for Unity 373 

Management Improvement 376 

Personnel Management 378 

Budget Administration 383 

Public Relations 384 

Legislative Relations 386 


The ASF Organization Situation in 1943 397 

The Preparation of an Alternative Organization for the ASF 400 

Consideration of the 1943 Plan 405 

The Public Controversy 408 

The Plan Dropped 41 1 

Lessons of the Episode 414 


Somervell's Departure 419 

The Dissolution of the ASF 421 

Appendix Page 


BER 1945 428 












77TH CONGRESS, 2D SESSION, 16 DECEMBER 1942 .... 458 






INDEX 473 


No. Page 

1 , Comparison of Medical Service, World War I and World War II ... . 96 

2- Technical Service Field Installations 306 

3. Proposed Service Command Realignment 403 


No. Page 

1. Organization of Service Command Headquarters, 8 December 1943 . . . 334 

2. Organization of the Services of Supply, 20 February 1942 340 

3. Organization of the Services of Supply, 16 February 1943 341 

4. Organization of the Army Service Forces, 10 November 1943 342 

5. Organization of the Army Service Forces, 20 July 1943 353 

6. Organization of the Army Service Forces, 15 August 1944 355 

7. Postwar Logistic Organization Within the War Department, Proposed to 

Patch Board, September 1944 423 



General Brehon B. Somervell Frontispiece 

Lt. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer 4 

Lt. Gen. LeRoy Lutes 6 

The Chiefs of the Technical Services 310 

Typical ASF Installations in a Camp 320 

Commanding Generals of the Service Commands and the MDW 322 

Weekly Staff Conference 375 

Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson 420 

The illustrations are from the files 
of the Department of Defense. 



On 9 March 1942 the Army Service 
Forces (ASF), the Army Ground Forces 
(AGF), and the Army Air Forces (AAF) 
came into being as the three major com- 
mands within the United States to do the 
work of the War Department. 1 The Army 
Service Forces was a unique organization, 
although it was in part modeled after the 
Services of Supply (SOS) that had been 
set up in France as a separate command 
within the American Expeditionary Forces 
(AEF) of Gen. John J. Pershing. 2 There 
was no exact counterpart to it within the 
United States during World War I. When 
General Pershing became Chief of Staff of 
the Army in 1921 and reconstructed the 
War Department General Staff (WDGS), 
he did not provide for a Services of Sup- 
ply. It was not until two months after the 
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that 
Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, 
and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson 
decided on a new organization for the 
War Department and the Army. 

Without direct precedent, the Army 
Service Forces was unusual likewise in the 
variety of tasks entrusted to it. In truth, it 
was a hodgepodge of agencies with many 
and varied functions. From 9 March 1942 
until its official termination in 1946 the 
ASF struggled constantly to build a com- 
mon unity of purpose and organization. 

The Army Service Forces took over cer- 
tain basic tasks which had to be performed 
for the support of military operations. It 
was a procurement and supply agency for 
the Army both in the United States and 

abroad, and during both combat and 
training operations. This was its central 
purpose. But there were other tasks as 
well, many tasks that had to be done to 
keep a gigantic army in existence and 
effective in combat. Some of this work in- 
volved the handling of men — induction, 
classification, assignment, maintenance of 
central personnel records, and eventually 
separation. In addition there was a world- 
wide communications service to provide, 
ports, and land and sea carriers to operate. 
There were hospitals to be built, staffed, 
and operated to care for the sick and for 
both training and combat casualties. 
There were individual soldiers of service 
troops to be given technical training, and 
service units to be organized and trained. 
There were morale and recreational serv- 
ices to devise and make effective. There 
were such tasks as military justice to super- 
vise, military prisons to run, military text- 
books to print and distribute, and depend- 

1 Initially called the Services of Supply, the name 
of the command was changed to Army Service Forces 
by War Department General Orders 14, 12 March 
1943. It is best known by this designation, which was 
used from 1943 to 1946. Accordingly, "Army Serv- 
ice Forces" will be used in the narrative of events of 
1942 from 9 March 1942 onward. 

'Accounts of the work of the Services of Supply of 
the AEF were provided by its commanding general 
and chief of staff. See James G. Harbord, The Amer- 
ican Army in France (Boston, Little, Brown and Com- 
pany, 1936), and Johnson Hagood, The Services of 
Supply (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927). 
See also Organization of the Services of Supply, Mono- 
graph 7 prepared in the Historical Branch, War Plans 
Division, General Staff (Washington, U.S. Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1921). 



ents' allowances to pay while the soldier 
was overseas. There was a world-wide sys- 
tem of mail delivery to maintain. There 
was the spiritual welfare of soldiers to pro- 
vide for. There were training films to pre- 
pare and a pictorial record of the entire 
Army to make. There were official orders 
of the War Department to issue, and offi- 
cial records to keep. 

The Army Service Forces was big, 
sprawling, vital. An Army was inducted, 
armed, transported, supplied, and brought 
back again when the fighting was finished. 
As was to be expected, ASF performance 
varied in quality from time to time and in 
different fields. Perhaps the simplest ver- 
dict on the Army Service Forces was "It 
worked, didn't it?" 

General Marshall summed up its 
achievements thus: 

The tasks of the Army Service Forces have 
been difficult and complex beyond descrip- 
tion. . . . 

The Service Forces have accomplished a 
prodigious task during the past two years in 
the supply of food, clothing, munitions, trans- 
portation, including the operation of a fleet 
of 1,537 ships; in the handling of pay and al- 
lowances amounting to 22.4 billion dollars; 
in the processing of approximately 75 billion 
dollars in contracts; in the management of 
3,700 post or cantonment installations in 
continental United States; in the operation 
of great base port organizations centered in 
Boston, New York, Hampton Roads, New 
Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and 
Seattle; in handling 7,370,000 men and 
101,750,000 measurement tons of cargo; in 
the administration of the medical service 
which has treated 9,083,000 hospital cases 
and operated 791,000 hospital beds; in the 
direction of post exchanges now doing a 
monthly business of 90 million dollars and 
the organization and management of enter- 
tainment and educational opportunities; in 
the conduct of the administration of the 
Army and finally in the enormous tasks of 
redeployment and demobilization. 3 

The Choice of General Somervell To Command 
the ASF 

No introduction to the Army Service 
Forces would be complete without a brief 
sketch of its commander, Gen. Brehon B. 
Somervell. So much of the history of the 
ASF, its achievements and its difficulties, 
revolved around his personality that some 
knowledge of the man is essential. To a 
greater degree than most organizations, 
the Army Service Forces reflected the 
force of a single man. 4 No one who knew 
the ASF ever doubted that the Army 
Service Forces and the name of its com- 
manding general were synonomous. Cred- 
it, however, for the success of his organiza- 
tion, as General Somervell himself would 
be the first to point out, must of course go 
to its hundreds of thousands of loyal 
workers, military and civilian. The work 
was done by thousands of contractors and 
employees, laboring long hours to turn out 
the necessary supplies. The work was done 
by the railroad managers and trainmen 
who moved millions of tons to the seaports. 
The work was done by the shipping com- 
panies, the stevedores, and the seamen. 
The work was done by the different organ- 
izational units which directed the various 
parts of a vast enterprise. Yet presiding 
over all of this, holding it together by the 
sheer force of his own determination, con- 
stantly demanding greater performance, 
was General Somervell. For his many 
achievements Secretary of War Robert R 
Patterson voiced warm appreciation when 
on 12 October 1945 he awarded to Somer- 

3 Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States 
Army July 1, 1943 to June 30, 1945 to the Secretary of War 
(Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1945), p. 114. 

4 Interv, Frederick S. Haydon with Gen Joseph T. 
McNarney, 4 Aug 49, OCMH. 



veil an oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished 
Service Medal. 5 

When General Somervell once briefly 
enumerated the work which his command 
had to perform before the subcommittee of 
the House Committee on Appropriations, 
which handled the War Department 
budget, the chairman of the subcommittee 
laconically remarked, "It would seem that 
you are kept pretty busy." The command- 
ing general replied: "There are a great 
many duties there, sir." 6 This was under- 

Brehon B. Somervell was born in Little 
Rock, Arkansas, on 9 May 1892. His 
father was a doctor and his mother a for- 
mer school teacher. In 1910 he received an 
appointment to the U.S. Military Acad- 
emy, was graduated four years later sixth 
in a group of 106 cadets, and was commis- 
sioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of 

Lieutenant Somervell happened to be 
in Paris on two months' graduation leave 
when World War I began. As an assistant 
to the military attache in Paris, he helped 
get Americans in France back to the 
United States. Returning home in Sep- 
tember 1914 he served in various capac- 
ities customary to junior officers in the 
Corps of Engineers. In the spring of 1916, 
he joined General Pershing's expedition to 
punish the Mexican raider Pancho Villa. 

Promoted to the rank of captain on 15 
May 1917, Somervell helped recruit and 
organize the 15th Engineer Regiment, a 
railroad outfit which was the first engineer 
regiment sent abroad. It arrived in Eng- 
land in July 1917 and left for France soon 
after. Somervell was adjutant of the regi- 
ment. Its commanding officer, Col. Edgar 
Jadwin, later a lieutenant general and a 
Chief of Engineers, impressed him deeply 
and was a model for many of Somervell's 

subsequent ideas and activities. In France 
the regiment worked on a number of large 
construction projects, including a great 
munitions dump at Mehun-sur-Yevre and 
the advanced depot and regulating station 
of Is-sur-Tille. For these activities he sub- 
sequently received the Distinguished Serv- 
ice Medal. While the work was exacting 
and strenuous, it was scarcely exciting. 

He visited the front lines in 1918 and 
volunteered for service on the staff of the 
89th Division. For successfully leading a 
patrol to inspect the damage of a bridge 
some six hundred yards in front of the 
American outposts, he was later awarded 
the Distinguished Service Cross. 

With the temporary rank of lieutenant 
colonel, Somervell in October 1918 joined 
the 89th Division and became Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-3, in charge of operations. 
After the Armistice he became Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-4, in charge of both per- 
sonnel and supply. When the division was 
shipped back to the United States in May 
1919, Somervell remained overseas as G-4 
of the Third Army, the force assigned to 
occupy the U.S. zone in Germany. 

It was as supply officer for the Army of 
Occupation that Somervell first met 
Walker D. Hines, who had just become 
arbitrator of shipping on the Rhine River, 
and who turned to him for help in prepar- 
ing a report on Rhine shipping. This asso- 
ciation began a friendship which was to 
have far-reaching influence on Somervell's 
subsequent career. With the reorganiza- 
tion of the Army on a peacetime basis, 
Somervell reverted to the permanent rank 
of major injuly 1920. 

5 WD press release, BPR, 1 2 Oct 45 (mimeo- 

9 Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on 
Appropriations, H. R., 78th Cong, 2d Sess, on Military 
Establishment Appropriation Bill for 1945, p. 64. 



(Photograph taken 1944.) 

In the mid-twenties he again assisted 
Mr. Hines with surveys and reports deal- 
ing with navigation conditions on the 
Rhine and Danube Rivers. In 1933 and 
1934 he worked with Mr. Hines on an 
economic survey of Turkey to be used as 
the basis for a five-year plan of industriali- 
zation. Somervell covered most of the 
country by automobile in order to observe 
conditions for himself. Mr. Hines was suc- 
ceeded after his death in the autumn of 
1933 by his law partner, Goldthwaite H. 
Dorr. With the help of a small staff, 
Somervell finished a seven-volume report 
in three months, worked with Mr. Dorr on 
the final recommendations, and returned 
to the United States in April 1934 for duty 
with the Chief of Engineers. 

In 1935, after the passage of the Emer- 
gency Relief Appropriation Act, Somer- 

vell became executive officer of the newly 
created Division of Applications and In- 
formation. He quickly saw that it would 
be impossible for this office to review proj- 
ects, since the final decision in any event 
had to be made by the operating units, the 
most important of which soon became the 
Works Progress Administration (WPA) 
under Harry L. Hopkins. He joined in 
recommending that the office be liqui- 
dated. In the meantime, on 1 August 1935, 
Somervell received his first promotion in 
fifteen years. Now a lieutenant colonel, he 
was sent to work on the Florida ship canal. 

When the New York City WPA, the 
largest single operating unit of the nation- 
wide program, found itself in need of an 
administrator who would be acceptable to 
Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia as well as 
to Washington, both Hopkins and the 
mayor agreed that an Army Engineer 
officer would be suitable. The choice was 
Somervell, who served as administrator 
from 1 August 1936 until November 1940. 
His handling of relief workers was firm but 
conciliatory. Furthermore, Somervell suc- 
ceeded in staying out of newspaper battles 
between Mayor La Guardia and Com- 
missioner Robert Moses on the problem of 
park development. Somervell built a dis- 
integrating organization into a tightly knit, 
loyal, and hard-working enterprise. There 
was general agreement that the New York 
City WPA was well run. 7 

When the -United States began active 
preparation for its own defense in 1940, 
Somervell was eager to return to military 
duty. He hoped he might be assigned to 

7 See John D. Milieu, The Works Progress Administra- 
tion in New York City (Chicago, Public Administration 
Service, 1938), and Arthur W. Macmahon, John D. 
Millett, and Gladys Ogden, The Administration of Fed- 
eral Work Relief (Chicago, Public Administration 
Service, 1941). 



duty with troops. Through an interme- 
diary he sought an interview with General 
Marshall, who had become Chief of Staff 
on 1 September 1939. Somervell had a 
brief conversation with General Marshall 
in the early autumn of 1940. He reminded 
the Chief of Staff of his service in World 
War I and of his subsequent staff training. 
He added that in spite of his varied assign- 
ments he still looked upon himself as a 
field soldier, and asked to be kept in mind 
for a field command. General Marshall 
was noncommittal. 

Somervell first learned in November 
1940, through a personal friend of Robert 
R Patterson, the newly appointed Assist- 
ant Secretary of War, that he was being 
considered for a War Department position. 
He was told that the War Department was 
concerned about delays in constructing 
Army camps. Because of the existing emer- 
gency, the Department had received a 
large appropriation for construction. The 
National Guard had been called into serv- 
ice in August 1940 and the Selective 
Service Act, passed by Congress in Sep- 
tember, provided for 600,000 additional 
soldiers. It was imperative that the rapidly 
expanding Army be sheltered before 
winter set in. Somervell was asked if he 
thought he could speed up this construction 
job. He was willing to try. 

In November 1940 he was first detailed 
to The Inspector General's office of the 
War Department to examine the construc- 
tion program, preliminary to his assign- 
ment as head of the Construction Division 
in the Office of The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral. On 1 1 December 1940 Somervell 
took charge of the Construction Division. 
He was promoted to the temporary rank 
of brigadier general in the Army of the 
United States on 29 January 1941. He 
went to work with enthusiasm, putting 

many of the individuals who had worked 
with him in New York City into key places. 
As his chief assistant he picked an old 
Corps of Engineers' friend whom he ac- 
cidently encountered in Washington, Col. 
Wilhelm D. Styer. Almost at once Somer- 
vell was required to testify before several 
Congressional committees about delays in 
the cantonment construction program. He 
pointed to the magnitude of the job and to 
the evidence of progress in its perform- 
ance. 8 Before the heavy February rains 
began in the south, most of the newly in- 
ducted soldiers were under some kind of 
shelter. Everywhere Somervell put em- 
phasis on speed. He accepted no excuses, 
and economy was secondary to action. 
While admitting that speed increased the 
cost at least $100,000,000, he claimed that 
time was more important than money. By 
February 1941 more than 485,000 persons 
were employed on the Army's construc- 
tion work. At the same time, the building 
of new powder and ammunition loading 
plants was hastened. Time magazine ad- 
vised its readers to "watch Somervell." 

Toward the end of October 1941 the 
post of Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, in the 
War Department General Staff, became 
vacant. Apparently the selection of a suc- 
cessor fell to the Deputy Chief of Staff for 
Supply, Maj. Gen. Richard C. Moore. 
General Moore picked Somervell and told 
him of his forthcoming assignment. He 
was officially appointed on 25 November 
1941. This was the first time Somervell 
had served on the WDGS. On 28 January 

8 Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on 
Appropriations , H.R., 77th Cong, 1st Sess, on Fourth 
Supplemental National Defense Appropriations Bill, 
1 2 Feb, 8 Mar 4 1 , pp. 12-126, 131-51; Hearings before 
the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, 
Senate, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, on H.R. 3617, 3 Mar41, 
pp. 1-37, and on H.R. 4124, 27 Mar 41, pp. 147-58. 



graph taken J 945.) 

1942 he was promoted to the temporary 
rank of major general. 

On the same day that the Army Service 
Forces was officially activated, General 
Somervell received his third star. (He was 
to become a full general on 6 March 1945.) 
The new command was not the field com- 
mand which he had wanted in the autumn 
of 1940, and which he still wanted. Instead, 
he had been given "the biggest headache" 
in the War Department. 

Characteristics of the Choice 

The selection of General Somervell to 
command the Army Service Forces was 
notable in several respects. He was rela- 
tively young and unknown in Army cir- 
cles. At the time of his appointment he was 
just two months short of his fiftieth birth- 

day. There were many officers in active 
service who were better known, and who 
held higher permanent rank (on the Regu- 
lar Army list Somervell was still only a 
lieutenant colonel). Many of these were 
now placed under his command. 

This situation inevitably meant that 
General Somervell would encounter re- 
sentment from some officers who felt their 
own military careers entitled them to more 
consideration than that received as a result 
of the reorganization. Like others such as 
Eisenhower and Bradley in Europe, Som- 
ervell faced the constant problem of build- 
ing loyal and co-operative relationships 
among men who were his seniors in age 
and in rank. 

In the second place, he had had any- 
thing but an orthodox military career. An 
article which appeared in Fortune magazine 
commented: "Somervell is every inch an 
Army man — but an Army man with a dif- 
ference. The difference is that he has 
mixed in civilian affairs too." 9 Somervell 
had had several lengthy assignments out- 
side the customary Army pattern, includ- 
ing his work abroad with Walker D. Hines 
and his more than four years as WPA 
administrator in New York City, as already 
indicated. To the ordinary Regular Army 
officer this was an unorthodox military 
career and was not to be compared with 
the long drudgery, patience, and even 
frustration that had been the lot of so 
many officers between 1919 and 1940. 

In the third place, General Somervell's 
best known characteristics were his energy 
and his drive. In many of his assignments 
between the two wars, and particularly 
after 1935, he had worked in the midst of 
crisis conditions. He was often asked to 
do the work of months in a matter of days. 

9 "The SOS," Fortune (September 1942), p. 68. 



He drove himself as hard as he drove his 
subordinates, perhaps even harder. He 
was not afraid of responsibility, he was not 
loath to cut red tape, and he rode rough- 
shod over opposition. The very language 
of War Department Circular 59 suggested 
that these qualities were urgently desired 
in 1942. Each of the three major com- 
manders was instructed in the circular to 
make use of "judicious shortcuts in pro- 
cedure to expedite operations." There 
were probably few officers in the Army in 
1942 better prepared psychologically to 
carry out this injunction to the full. Somer- 
vell's energy and determination to over- 
come obstacles regardless of cost alienated 
some and occasionally disturbed others, 
but he did get things done. Senator Harry 
S. Truman once commented to his col- 
leagues on the Senate Committee on Mili- 
tary Affairs: "I will say this for General 
Somervell, he will get the stuff, but it is 
going to be hell on the taxpayer. He has 
a WPA attitude on the expenditure of 
money." 10 

With Somervell's sense of urgency and 
drive went also a quick temper. No one 
knew this limitation better than did Som- 
ervell himself. Because of it there were 
some misgivings at the time he was being 
considered to head the ASF. 11 Intellectu- 
ally alert, he was inclined to be impatient 
with persons who were slower than himself 
in reaching a decision and in taking ac- 
tion. Continued indecisiveness aroused his 
anger, as did a failure to carry out instruc- 
tions or a surrender to what seemed to him 
to be surmountable difficulties. 

Early in the war a journalist described 
Somervell in these words: 

... he is out of the tradition of the Eliza- 
bethan Englishman, all lace and velvet and 
courtliness outside, fury and purposefulness 

"Dynamite in a Tiffany box" is the impres- 
sion Somervell left with one WPB indus- 
trialist. The General has never found it neces- 
sary to invite journalists in to hear him deliver 
a fierce ultimatum to himself to get tough. 
While the bureaucrats in mufti are con- 
scientiously trying to transform themselves 
into fire-eaters and nail -chewers, "Bill" Som- 
ervell is working just as conscientiously to 
water down his own triple-distilled potion 
of the grapes of wrath. His problem is not 
to work up a temper but to control one .... 
When goaded beyond endurance, rather 
than trust himself to act, he will shut himself 
up in the office until a judicial calm 
descends. 12 

General Somervell was also well known 
as an Army officer with an unusually good 
sense of organization. He had a number of 
definite ideas about how an organization 
should be set up and how it should work. 
Many of these details will be discussed 
later. But it was typical of his brief career 
as G-4 of the War Department that he 
raised fundamental organizational ques- 
tions and sought consideration of vital 
relationships between his own office and 
that of the Under Secretary of War. He 
was not willing to accept an arrangement 
just because it happened to be in force, 
particularly when he saw it as an obstacle 
to the performance of a basic task. He had 
revealed his organizational sense further 
as a participant in the discussions during 
February 1942 of War Department reor- 
ganization. As head of the Army Service 
Forces it was to be expected that he would 
always take a keen interest in such matters 
as they applied to the work of his com- 

10 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
Senate, 77 th Cong, 2d Sess, on Department of Defense 
Co-ordination and Control Bill, 6 Mar 42, p. 7. 

11 See below J"pp, 35-3b\l 

12 Charles J. V. Murphy, "Somervell of the SOS," 
Life, (March 8, 1943), p. 86. 



One other factor should be mentioned. 
The people who knew Somervell seldom 
felt neutral toward him. They reacted with 
either intense like or dislike. There were 
those to whom the very mention of the 
name of Somervell was like waving a red 
flag in front of a bull. They thought him a 
power-hungry officer, a "man on horse- 
back." 13 

On the other hand, General Somervell 
aroused sentiments of great loyalty among 
the people closely associated with him. 
Within the WPA in New York City, he 
had found several persons whose work 
habits suited him and whose performance 
was so satisfactory that he brought them 
into the Construction Division of the 
Office of The Quartermaster General and 
later into the Army Service Forces. In the 
short time in which he was in G-4, he 

spotted two officers, one of whom in par- 
ticular, Brig. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, was to 
become his close associate in the ASF and 
was to be described by him later as the 
"perfect" staff officer. Yet before 25 No- 
vember 1941, he had never met this man 
who was to remain with him throughout 
the entire history of the Army Service 
Forces and who was to succeed him in 
1945 for the brief remaining period of the 
ASF 's existence. The loyalty of the men 
around Somervell and his support of them 
were indispensable for the effective oper- 
ation of the Army Service Forces. 

1:1 Hearings before a Special Committee Investigating the 
National Defense Program [The Truman Committee], 
Senate, 77th Cong, 2d Sess, 16 Dec 42, Pt. 16, p. 6676; 
Lewis Douglas, memo to file, about 30 Dec 42, WSA 
files, Douglas personal. 




The War Department 
and Army Organization at the 
Beginning of World War II 

When the Japanese dropped their 
bombs at Pearl Harbor, War Department 
organization still reflected the basic think- 
ing developed from America's experience 
in World War I. United States participa- 
tion in that war had produced its share of 
organizational conflicts. The most impor- 
tant of these involved the relation between 
the Chief of Staff and the commanding 
general of the American Expeditionary 
Forces, General Pershing. General Per- 
shing had been highly critical of the oper- 
ation of the War Department General 
Staff. In his eyes the Chief of Staff in 
Washington "erroneously assumed the 
role of Commanding General of the 
Army." 1 He was convinced that strategic 
and tactical direction in the field belonged 
solely to him and that his only superior 
was the Commander in Chief, the Presi- 
dent of the United States. He saw the job 
of the Chief of Staff in the War Depart- 
ment mainly in terms of providing him 
with the troops and supplies he requested. 

Just how much authority the Chief of 
Staff had to direct the war effort was not 
clearly defined until three months before 
the end of the war. 2 By general order it 
was then declared that the Chief of Staff 

by law took rank and precedence over all 
officers of the Army and had authority in 
the name of the Secretary of War to issue 
orders throughout the Military Establish- 
ment. This provision was distasteful not 
only to General Pershing, but also to 
many of the Army bureau chiefs. 

As Chief of Staff after March 1918, 
Gen. Peyton C. March was confronted 
with many difficulties other than those 
arising from General Pershing's concept of 
his office. The general staff system, estab- 
lished in 1903, had been disliked by many 
Army officials through the intervening 
years. World War I provided its first real 
test. Faced with the necessity of proving it- 
self, it sought to meet the challenge by 
more effective organization, particularly 
by bringing the administrative and supply 
bureaus of the department under close 

The supply responsibilities of the War 
Department General Staff were exercised 
from August 1918 and thereafter through 
a Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division. 

'John J. Pershing, My Experiences in the World War 
(New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1931), I, 

2 WD GO 80, 26 Aug 18. 



This division was scarcely a "staff agency" 
as most Army officers understood that 
term. The director of the division, Maj. 
Gen. George Goethals, was determined to 
bring all supply activities of the Army into 
one integrated organization, based on 
functional specialization. In July 1918 he 
had developed a plan for centralizing pro- 
curement of all but a few items — notably 
aircraft and heavy guns and ammuni- 
tion — under The Quartermaster General. 
The Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Divi- 
sion also took over direct operation of the 
Army Transportation Service and created 
a central storage agency to handle all 
military supplies before they were issued 
to troops in training in the United States 
or shipped overseas. On 28 July 1918, 
Secretary of War Newton D. Baker in a 
letter to General Pershing proposed that 
General Goethals' authority be extended 
to include the Services of Supply of the 
AEF General Pershing firmly and suc- 
cessfully opposed this idea, and he imme- 
diately strengthened his SOS by placing 
his intimate associate, Maj. Gen. James G. 
Harbord, in command. 3 

Much pent-up hostility to WDGS con- 
trol, especially as exercised by the Pur- 
chase, Storage, and Traffic Division, was 
released by the Armistice. General March 
defended its actions at some length in his 
report at the end of the war. 4 He pointed 
to the earlier tendency of each bureau to 
purchase supplies without concern for the 
procurement activities of other bureaus. 
He mentioned that there had been nine 
different methods for estimating supply 
requirements, five different agencies stor- 
ing and issuing supplies, and ten different 
agencies handling finances. This had been 
so confusing that the War Industries 
Board could not obtain "adequate infor- 
mation" about the supply needs of the 

War Department as a whole. Under the 
circumstances, General March said, "a 
consolidation of procurement, ... of 
storage, of finance, and of transportation, 
together with a positive central control of 
these activities by the General Staff, was 
essential ... to the rapid, efficient, and 
economical utilization of the resources of 
the country for the development of the 
Army program as a whole." 5 He admitted 
that the General Staff, forced by circum- 
stances, had extended its control at the ex- 
pense of the supply bureaus. But in any 
future war, he continued, it would again 
be necessary to have a top staff to direct 
the many agencies of the War Depart- 
ment. "It can be stated without qualifica- 
tion that the success of an army in modern 
war is impossible without such a general 
staff." 6 

The bureau chiefs of the War Depart- 
ment were not convinced by such views. 
When Congress began hearings on War 
Department proposals for new defense 
legislation, they directed many criticisms 
against the General Staff itself. The Chief 
of Ordnance, Maj. Gen. Clarence C. Wil- 
liams, told a House committee: "I think I 
may say, so far as the Ordnance Depart- 
ment is concerned, that not one single 
constructive thing has come out of the 
Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division." 7 
The Chief of Engineers, Maj. Gen. Wil- 
liam M. Black, was equally vigorous in his 
statement. 8 The director of the Chemical 

3 Pershing, My Experiences in the World War, II, 1 85- 

* Annual Report of the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of 
War, 1919 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 1919), pp. 15ff. 

5 Ibid., p. 20. 

6 Ibid., p. 241. 

7 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
H.R., 66th Cong, 1st Sess, on Army Reorganization 
1919, p. 493. 

8 Ibid., p. 765. 



Warfare Service, Maj. Gen. William L. 
Sibert, said that the "attempt of the Gen- 
eral Staff, through the Purchase, Storage, 
and Traffic Division, to interfere with or 
take over largely the administration of the 
bureaus, is due to a misconception of the 
real supply problem." He complained that 
the creation of the "PS. and T" had led 
to a "duplication of work" and had 
tended to cut the bureau chief out of "con- 
trol of his own bureau." 9 

Aside from such criticism the reorgan- 
ization of the War Department General 
Staff proposed after World War I faced 
another obstacle. Secretary Baker during 
the war had held that his own office 
should exercise close supervision over all 
procurement operations through civilian 
personnel. With that in mind one of his 
first steps had been to enlist the assistance 
of Edward R. Stettinius, who in January 
1918 was given the title of Surveyor-Gen- 
eral of Supplies and after April became 
Second Assistant Secretary of War. In the 
meantime Mr. Baker had asked his assist- 
ant secretary and fellow citizen of Cleve- 
land, Benedict Crowell, to supervise War 
Department procurement activities. Mr. 
Crowell was given the additional title of 
Director of Munitions. 10 

Mr. Crowell was deeply perturbed by 
America's production performance during 
World War I. Almost no preparation had 
been made before April 1917 for large- 
scale output of munitions. It took time to 
convert industrial resources to actual pro- 
duction of guns, airplanes, and tanks. 
Then too, the military handling of over- 
seas transportation was faulty so that 
much of what was produced never reached 
its destination. American manpower in 
the AEF was effective in a military sense 
largely because of the great quantities of 
armaments provided by the British and 

French. While the United States supplied 
most of the food, clothing, and motor 
transport for the AEF, it produced a mere 
160 of the 2,000 75-mm. field guns used by 
American troops overseas. All 1,000 of the 
155-mm. howitzers came from the British 
and French. The infant air force used 
1,000 pursuit planes provided by the 
French. 11 This experience made a lasting 
impression on Crowell. It confirmed his 
opinion that close civilian supervision of 
procurement operations was necessary in 
wartime. It also led him to the conviction 
that henceforth the War Department 
should include plans for industrial mobi- 
lization in its defense preparations. 

Changes in the National Defense Act 

In August 1919 the Secretary of War 
presented proposals to Congress for the 
postwar organization of the War Depart- 
ment. These proposals had been devel- 
oped by the General Staff under General 
March's leadership. The suggested legis- 
lation provided for a General Staff Corps 
with a total strength of 230 officers, to be 
headed by a Chief of Staff with the rank of 
general. The Chief of Staff was to exercise 
"supervision of all agencies and functions 
of the Military Establishment" under the 
direction of the President and the Secre- 
tary of War. The bill further provided that 
"the Chief of Staff shall be the immediate 
adviser of the Secretary of War" on mili- 
tary matters. He was to plan, develop, and 

9 Ibid., pp.- 557-59. 

10 An interpretation of these events is available in a 
lecture by Goldthwaite Dorr, Assistant Director of 
Munitions under Crowell, to the Army Industrial 
College in 1945. See Goldthwaite H. Dorr, The Re- 
organization of the War Department of 9 March 1942, 
14Jun 45 (mimeographed)". 

11 See Some Accomplishments of the Services of 
Supply, 2d ed., revised to 1 May 19, mimeographed 
rpt prepared by Stat Br, SOS, AEF, p. 42. 



execute the war program and issue orders 
to insure the efficient and harmonious 
execution of policies by the various corps, 
bureaus, and other agencies of the Mili- 
tary Establishment. The obvious intention 
was to strengthen the General Staff as the 
top management organization for the War 

Much of the subsequent legislative dis- 
cussion therefore centered upon the ques- 
tion of the role of the General Staff in the 
War Department. During the hearings, 
Assistant Secretary of War Crowell in- 
jected a new issue for consideration by 
Congress when he proposed to the House 
Committee on Military Affairs that the 
functions of the War Department be di- 
vided into two principal elements, a mili- 
tary function and a procurement function. 
Although the Secretary of War would be 
the top civilian administrator over both, 
Mr. Crowell proposed separate assistants 
for each activity. The Chief of Staff, as 
head of the Military Establishment, would 
advise the Secretary of War on military 
matters; the head of a Munitions Depart- 
ment would advise him on procurement 
problems. Yet Crowell did not suggest that 
the supply bureaus should be placed ex- 
clusively under the Munitions Depart- 
ment. The General Staff would give orders 
to the bureaus on supply requirements, 
troop training, and distribution of sup- 
plies, while the Munitions Department 
would give orders to the same supply 
bureaus on the purchase and manufac- 
ture of munitions. Mr. Crowell '$ proposal 
reflected in part an effort to strengthen 
civilian control over business matters, in 
part his belief that it would rarely be pos- 
sible to find an Army officer with the ex- 
perience and skill necessary for supervising 
the procurement and production of war 
materials. He hoped that an industrialist 

with ability and background would head 
a Munitions Department. 12 

In submitting his proposal, Mr. Crowell 
omitted any account of his wartime rela- 
tion to General Goethals, director of the 
Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division. 
His conception of his job then had been 
to throw "full immediate operational re- 
sponsibility" on General Goethals. Mr. 
Crowell did not customarily give orders 
directly to the supply bureaus; instead he 
worked through General Goethals. He 
concerned himself primarily with general 
supervision and specific trouble spots. As 
an industrialist, he was especially inter- 
ested in the production problems of the 
Ordnance Department. He also main- 
tained close relationships with the War 
Industries Board, which mobilized the 
general economic resources of the nation. 13 
Thus, in practice, as Director of Muni- 
tions, he had actually worked through a 
General Staff division headed by an Army 
officer. The House Committee on Military 
Affairs apparently was unaware that Mr. 
CrowelPs proposal was in contradiction to 
his own administrative experience in 
World War I. 

Secretary Baker disagreed with Crowell 
and opposed his recommendation before 
the House committee. The Secretary told 
the committee that he doubted that a man 
of wide business experience could be 
found, particularly in peacetime, to fill 
the position of Assistant Secretary of War 
to head a Munitions Department. In ad- 
dition, the Secretary disapproved of the 
proposal to give a statutory assignment to 
an Assistant Secretary of War because 

12 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
H.R., 66th Cong, 1st Sess, on Army Reorganization 

13 Dorr lecture, p. 8, cited in n. 10. 



this would interfere with the freedom of 
the Secretary to assign responsibilities to 
his principal associates as he saw fit. A 
future Secretary of War might be an in- 
dustrialist who would take more interest 
in the procurement operations of the War 
Department than in its other work. Under 
these circumstances he might want an 
Assistant Secretary who would give prin- 
cipal attention to the nonprocurement 
activities. 14 

The National Defense Act of 4 June 
1920 continued the General Staff organi- 
zation and the position of Chief of Staff as 
created in 1903. Under the direction of 
the President and the Secretary of War, 
the Chief of Staff was to see that the Gen- 
eral Staff made plans for recruiting, or- 
ganizing, supplying, equipping, mobiliz- 
ing, training, and demobilizing the Army 
of the United States. Other functions of the 
General Staff were to include authority to 
investigate and report on the efficiency of 
the Army and its state of preparation for 
military operations, to develop plans for 
the mobilization of civilian manpower for 
war, and to render professional aid and 
assistance to the Secretary of War. The 
War Department General Staff was lim- 
ited to the Chief of Staff, four assistant 
chiefs of staff, and eighty-eight other offi- 
cers, a group about one third the size 
recommended by General March. 

Congress adopted in part the recom- 
mendation put forward by Mr. Crowell. 
Section 5a of the law provided that the 
Assistant Secretary of War would super- 
vise the procurement of all military sup- 
plies and plan economic mobilization for 
war. But Section 5a offered no solution to 
the basic issue of military versus civilian 
control of procurement. It did not estab- 
lish a civilian-dominated Munitions De- 
partment; the Assistant Secretary, who 

was to supervise military procurement, 
was given no operating staff. 

War Department orders issued in 
August 1920 implied that the Assistant 
Secretary would look for staff assistance 
to the Supply Division of the General 
Staff. 15 Policy control without a staff or- 
ganization was only the shadow, not the 
substance, of authority. Unless future 
Assistant Secretaries were willing to de- 
pend upon what help the General Staff 
could provide them, they would have no 
alternative but to create their own 

There was a curious anomaly in the 
Assistant Secretary's position. With his 
responsibility to plan economic mobiliza- 
tion for the government as a whole, he was 
required to think far beyond the War De- 
partment. It seems reasonable to assume 
that the legislation did not intend to give 
him supervision of wartime industrial 
organization; during World War I, the 
War Industries Board had been a separate 
agency reporting directly to the President. 
In the event of another war, it was then 
probably contemplated that a similar 
agency would be created. Nevertheless, the 
Assistant Secretary's responsibility for 
economic planning made him potentially 
more important than many cabinet mem- 
bers, possibly even more important than 
his chief. At the same time he was a sub- 
ordinate official in his own Department. 
And as though to heap confusion upon 
confusion, Section 5 of the National De- 
fense Act gave to the General Staff powers 
which could easily be interpreted as over- 
lapping those of the Assistant Secretary; 

14 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
H.R., 66th Cong, 1st Sess, on Army Reorganization 
1919,11, 2016. 

15 WD GO 48, 12 Aug 20. 



it charged the Staff with the "mobiliza- 
tion of the manhood of the nation and its 
material resources 'in an emergency." 
Section 5 and 5a of the act of 1920 thus 
constituted a compromise compounded of 
ambiguity, confusion, and the raw mate- 
rial of future jurisdictional disputes. 

The Pershing Reorganization 

When General Pershing became Chief 
of Staff on 1 July 1921, one of his first acts 
was to create a board of seven officers to 
study the organization of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff. 16 Its chairman was 
Maj. Gen. James G. Harbord, who had 
been General Pershing's first chief of staff 
in France, and later commanding general 
of his Services of Supply. 

General Pershing's thought was to cre- 
ate a general staff system in the War 
Department which would closely parallel 
the staff he had developed for the AEF in 
France. After arriving in France in 1917, 
he had at once begun to study the organi- 
zation of the British and French armies in 
the field in order to decide on arrange- 
ments for his own command. As General 
Pershing remarked in his memoirs: "It re- 
quired no genius to see that the coordina- 
tion and direction of the combat branches 
and the numerous services of large forces 
could be secured only through the medium 
of a well-constituted general staff, and I 
determined to construct it on the sound 
basis of actual experience in war of our 
own and other armies." 17 

The actual experience of AEF head- 
quarters in organizing its activities is not 
relevant here. 18 Suffice it to say that this 
experience provided a major field of study 
for the Harbord Board. Yet curiously 
enough, the precedent of a Services of Sup- 
ply as part of the AEF organization was 
nowhere reflected in the report of the Har- 

bord Board. Rather, the board directed 
its attention primarily to the problem of 
the position of the Assistant Secretary of 
War under the National Defense Act of 
1920 and to the question of his relations 
with the WDGS. Implicit in this problem 
was the delicate policy question of military 
versus civilian control of the Department. 
General Harbord appointed a subcom- 
mittee of three to inquire into this issue. 
Two of the three members of this subcom- 
mittee were General Staff officers, 19 which 
may account for the fact that it tended to 
build up the role of the General Staff and 
to play down the independence of the 
Assistant Secretary. 

In its report to the board, the subcom- 
mittee identified seven essential stages in 
military supply: 

1. Preparation of specifications and 

2. Testing of pilot models. 

3. Inspection of facilities to determine 
their productive capacity. 

4. Acquisition of necessary materiel 
through purchase, lease, or other business 
or legal arrangements. 

5. Production, including those activities 
necessary to insure the systematic and 
orderly flow of component parts. 

6. Inspection, test, and acceptance. 

7. Storage and issue, including all ques- 
tions of transportation. 

By asserting that the Assistant Secretary of 
War was properly concerned with the 

16 WD GO 155, 7 Jul 21. See also Troyer Anderson, 
Introduction to the History of the Under Secretary of 
War's Office, MS, OCMH, Ch. Ill, pp. 12-17. 

17 Pershing, My Experiences in the World War, I, 103. 

18 The author has sketched the story in "The Di- 
rection of Supply Activities in the War Department: 
an Administrative Survey," American Political Science 
Review, XXXVIII (April, June 1944), 249, 475. 

19 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs: 
Historical Documents Relating to the Reorganization Plans 
of the War Department and to the Present National Defense 
Act, H.R., 69th Cong, 2d Sess, 3 Mar 27, Pt. 1, pp. 



third through the sixth steps in this proc- 
ess, the subcommittee attempted to guard 
against the possibility of that official 
reaching over into the functions of specify- 
ing requirements and disposing of ma- 
teriel after procurement. The Assistant 
Secretary, the subcommittee held, should 
supervise the work of the supply bureaus 
so far as purchasing, production, and in- 
spection were concerned, while the Gen- 
eral Staff should supervise the remaining 
phases of supply. The subcommittee ex- 
pressed the belief that a formula for co- 
ordinating military and economic policy 
could be easily devised. The General 
Staff would determine the military re- 
quirements for defense and war, and 
would present these to the "business 
side" of the War Department, that is, to 
the Assistant Secretary of War. Where dis- 
agreement occurred between the General 
Staff and the Assistant Secretary, the 
Secretary of War would have to resolve the 
difference. The subcommittee further pro- 
posed to strengthen General Staff influ- 
ence by detailing one or more General 
Staff officers to work for the Assistant 
Secretary. In general these recommenda- 
tions were in line with the principle, up- 
held by the subcommittee, that military 
efficiency required the subordination of 
administration and "business" activities 
to strategic and tactical command. 

The report of the subcommittee further 
stated that the Assistant Secretary had 
concurred in its proposals. It should have 
added, though, that this concurrence was 
won only after the subcommittee had 
yielded to at least three vital modifications 
affecting the special status of the Assistant 
Secretary. The phrase "for the approval 
of the Secretary of War" was stricken out 
of the provision charging the Assistant 
Secretary with responsibility for directing 
procurement and industrial planning. If 

this phrase had been retained, the War 
Department General Staff would have 
had a basis for acting on behalf of the 
Secretary. The subcommittee failed also 
in its effort to perpetuate the ambiguity of 
the act of 1920, which had given the Sup- 
ply Division of the General Staff a toehold 
in the planning of economic mobilization. 
The modified version left the General 
Staff out of the general planning picture 
and ordered that the various branches of 
the Army request decision on military 
phases of procurement from G-4, and 
"decisions on business or industrial ques- 
tions from the Assistant Secretary of War." 
Finally, General Harbord withdrew the 
subcommittee's recommendation for at- 
taching General Staff officers to the Office 
of the Assistant Secretary. 20 

Other recommendations of the Harbord 
Board dealt with the organization of the 
W ar Department General Staff into five 
divisions instead of four — Personnel (G-l), 
Military Intelligence (G-2), Operations 
and Training (G-3), Supply (G-4), and 
War Plans (WPD). The Supply Division 
was to direct the calculation of Military 
supply requirements and the distribution 
of supplies. In addition, the Supply Divi- 
sion was to supervise the construction and 
maintenance of buildings for War Depart- 
ment activities, the hospitalization of 
troops, and the preparation of the War 
Department budget. The recommenda- 
tions of the Harbord Board, as modified, 
were accepted by the Chief of Staff and 
the Secretary of War, and duly put into 
effect. 21 

Perhaps the most important single con- 
sequence of the Harbord Board's work was 
the creation of a strong general staff sys- 

Ibid., pp. 597, 618, 626, 638, 645, 648; Anderson, 
Introduction to the History of the Under Secretary of 
War's Office, MS, OCMH, Ch. Ill, pp. 18-23. 
21 WD GO 41, 16 Aug 21. 



tem in the War Department. General 
Pershing himself was largely responsible 
for this development. While his General 
Staff was limited in size, it was the top 
management agency of the Military Es- 
tablishment. Many different commands, 
supply bureaus, administrative bureaus, 
and other agencies might function as part 
of the War Department, but all received 
top direction from the General Staff. In 
the second place, the Harbord Board 
recommendations suggested the desirabil- 
ity, when war seemed imminent, of creat- 
ing a General Headquarters (GHQ) which 
would become a field command and even- 
tually move overseas. This recommenda- 
tion was to be partially put into effect in 
July 1940. In the third place, the Harbord 
Board paved the way for a new top office 
in the War Department, the Office of the 
Assistant Secretary of War. This acted 
to some extent as a brake on the authority 
of the General Staff. Although War De- 
partment orders of August 1920 had im- 
plied that the Assistant Secretary would 
carry out his responsibilities through the 
Supply Division of the General Staff, the 
orders of August 1921 suggested an inde- 
pendent supervisory responsibility. Hence- 
forth, on procurement matters, the supply 
bureaus of the War Department were to 
work under the direction and control of the 
Assistant Secretary. The bureaus having 
supply responsibilities at this time were 
the Coast Artillery Corps, the Air Service, 
the Ordnance Department, the Quarter- 
master Corps, the Medical Corps, the 
Corps of Engineers, the Signal Corps, and 
the Chemical Warfare Service. Thus, on 
procurement and economic planning, the 
authority of the Assistant Secretary of War 
was established. The jurisdiction of the 
General Staff no longer embraced all 
phases of military supply, as it had before 

and during World War I. The supply bu- 
reaus now had two superiors, the War De- 
partment General Staff and the Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War. 22 Except 
for this limitation in the economic field, 
the influence of the WDGS grew steadily 
from 1921 to 1940. Assignment to the 
General Staff Corps became a high mili- 
tary honor with a promise of later field 
command for most of those selected. 

Developments Between 1921 and 1941 

While no major peacetime modifica- 
tions were made in War Department and 
Army organization after the report of the 
Harbord Board, the military organization 
nevertheless showed signs of stress and 
strain which indicated that it might not be 
able to withstand another major war with- 
out change. The single greatest problem 
was the relation of the air arm to the 
ground arm. Essentially the issue was 
whether the strategic and tactical mission 
of the air forces should be considered as 
being different and separate from that of 
the ground forces. 23 The establishment of 

22 Various orders and documents on the organiza- 
tion of the WDGS, the AEF in France, and on the his- 
tory of War Department organization were collected 
and published by the House Committee on Military 
Affairs. See House Hearing . . . Historical Documents, 
cited in n. 19. A briefer account of these developments 
may be found in Otto L. Nelson, Jr., National Security 
and the General Staff (Washington, Infantry Journal 
Press, 1946), Chs. V-VI. See also Kent R. Greenfield, 
Robert R. Palmer, and Bell I. Wiley, The Organization 
of Ground Combat Troops, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, U.S. Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1947), and Ray S. Cline, Wash- 
ington Command Post: The Operations Division, UNITED 
ton, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951). 

23 Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate, eds., The 
Army Air Forces in World War II: I, Plans and Early Op- 
erations, January 1939 to August 1942 (Chicago, Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, 1948), pp. 24-29. (Hereafter 
cited as Craven and Cate, AAF I.) 



the Air Corps in 1926, and the segregation 
of combat air units as the General Head- 
quarters Air Force in 1935, were steps 
toward a greater degree of autonomy for 
the Army's air component. 

Another problem was the organization 
of the Army on a geographical basis. The 
establishment of nine corps areas in 1920 
proved to be unsatisfactory for the tactical 
training of ground combat units. Finally 
in 1932 the corps areas were .grouped 
together under four armies for this pur- 
pose, and the senior corps area com- 
mander in the army area became the 
army commander. 

Throughout this period much attention 
was paid to the planning of economic 
mobilization policies for a future war. In 
fact, this planning became the chief inter- 
est of the Office of the Assistant Secretary 
of War. In June 1922 the Secretary of War 
and the Secretary of the Navy joined in 
creating the Army and Navy Munitions 
Board (AN MB) to provide a common 
meeting ground for the discussion of pro- 
curement planning problems and for the 
development of joint policies. The Army 
members generally tended to take more 
interest in these matters than did those of 
the Navy. The board itself, made up of the 
Assistant Secretary of War and the Assist- 
ant Secretary of the Navy, was never very 
active. In February 1924 the War Depart- 
ment also established the Army Industrial 
College, where primary attention was 
given to procurement problems of World 
War I and their implications for a future 
war emergency. 24 The staff of the Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War not only co- 
operated closely with the staff of the In- 
dustrial College, but also after 1926 
engaged in the preparation and revision of 
industrial mobilization plans, the latest 
revised plan being that of 1939. 

Congress also began to take an interest 
in various aspects of the problem. A War 
Policies Commission, recommended by 
President Hoover and set up by legislative 
action, noted the importance of procure- 
ment planning in its report on 3 March 
1932. This commission, consisting of six 
cabinet officers, four Senators, and four 
members of the House of Representatives, 
recommended that Congressional commit- 
tees review procurement plans every two 
years. In 1933 the Senate special commit- 
tee inquiring into the munitions industry, 
under the chairmanship of Senator Gerald 
P. Nye, extended the scope of its investiga- 
tion to take into account the current 
industrial mobilization plans. 

In spite of the increased interest of the 
Office of the Assistant Secretary of War in 
procurement planning, there was little 
friction between it and the Supply Divi- 
sion of the General Staff at this time. The 
volume of military purchasing was too 
small to raise serious jurisdictional prob- 
lems. The average annual sum available 
for augmentation and replacement of 
arms and equipment in tne fiscal years 
1926 through 1933 amounted to $25,500,- 
000, and but $91,000,000 in the fiscal 
years 1934 through 1940. 25 

Nevertheless, one incident in the 1930's 
revealed that conflict between the Office 
of the Assistant Secretary of War and the 
War Department General Staff was more 
than a possibility. Harry H. Woodring, 
Assistant Secretary of War from 1933 to 
1936, was convinced that the so-called 
protective mobilization plan of the Gen- 
eral Staff was unrealistic in its scheduling 
of Army strength at various periods after 

» WD GO 7, 25 Feb 24. 

25 These data are taken from charts prepared in 
1941 by Brig. Gen. Leonard P. Ay res which were filed 
in the Control Division, ASF. 



mobilization. He felt that it would be im- 
possible to provide the necessary equip- 
ment for the contemplated force within 
the time period stated in the plan and so 
he requested the WDGS to revise its sched- 
ule for mobilizing troop strength. This the 
General Staff was reluctant to do. After 
the death of George Dern, Woodring 
became Secretary of War, and the conflict 
flared out into the open. In an attempt to 
settle the issue, he directed the General 
Staff to revise its time schedule. 26 

Several changes in Army organization 
followed the beginnings of American mo- 
bilization in the summer of 1940. As pro- 
posed by the Harbord Board in 1921, a 
General Headquarters was activated on 
26 July 1940. In October a second change 
was made when the command of the four 
armies and the corps areas was separated. 
Shortly afterward, on 19 November, the 
General Headquarters Air Force was 
taken from the chief of the Air Corps and 
assigned to the recently activated General 
Headquarters. Since GHQwas expected 
to command overseas operations in the 
event of war, this move failed to please 
most airmen. 

The proponents of an independent air 
force had long been dissatisfied with War 
Department organization as it pertained 
to the air arm. European war experience 
reinforced their claims that the plane had 
its own distinct strategic and tactical mis- 
sion. This was partly recognized by Secre- 
tary of War Stimson, who stated in his first 
report: "The functions of modern air 
power which have been developed and 
demonstrated during this war have vitally 
affected previously approved methods of 
warfare. They have been carefully studied 
by our own Army and have powerfully 
affected our plans and organization." 27 
On 20 June 1941 the War Department 

created the Army Air Forces which ab- 
sorbed both the Air Corps and the GHQ 
Air Force. At the same time, all airfields 
within the United States were brought 
under the jurisdiction of the AAF. Combat 
planes of all kinds were now separated 
from Army ground troops. A separate air 
force within the Army had finally come 
into being. This change in the status of the 
air arm was the most important alteration 
in Army organization between 1918 and 
Pearl Harbor. By comparison, even the 
creation of General Headquarters was of 
secondary importance. 

The organization for the direction of 
supply and procurement activities was 
modified only in a minor particular after 
the European war began. On 16 Decem- 
ber 1940 Congress authorized the Presi- 
dent to appoint, with confirmation by the 
Senate, an Under Secretary of War. In ad- 
dition, Section 5a of the National Defense 
Act of 1920 was amended to give the Sec- 
retary of War power to assign procure- 
ment supervision to any of his staff mem- 
bers. To fill the position of Under Secre- 
tary, the then Assistant Secretary of War, 
Robert Patterson, was nominated and 
confirmed, and on 28 April 1941 the Sec- 
retary of War delegated his procurement 
supervisory duties to the Under Secretary. 
Meanwhile, as Army procurement opera- 
tions expanded during 1940 and 1941, the 
Office of the Under Secretary of War 
(OUSW) grew in personnel strength. 
Whereas on 1 July 1939 the Office of the 
Assistant Secretary of War had a total 
strength of only 78 officers and civilians, 
on 1 November 1941 the Office of the 

26 Annual Report of the Secretary of War to the President, 
1938 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1938), p. 1. 

27 Annual Report of the Secretary of War to the President, 
1941 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1941), p. 7. 



Under Secretary of War numbered 1,136 
persons, of whom 257 were officers and 
879 were civilians. 28 Supply activity in the 
General Staff was likewise growing, and at 
the time of Pearl Harbor it required a G-4 
staff of about 250 persons, of whom 100 
were officers. 

At the outbreak of the war with Japan, 
the military organization within the 
United States under the Secretary of War 
consisted of five major elements: 

First, the top direction of military activ- 
ities was vested in the Chief of Staff, 
assisted by the General Staff. The volume 
of General Staff activity had become such 
that in addition to the five divisions, each 
headed by an assistant chief of staff, there 
were three deputy chiefs of staff: one for 
supply, one for administration, and one 
for air matters. This last position was held 
concurrently by the chief of the Air Forces. 

Secondly, there were two major com- 
mands, the Army Air Forces and General 
Headquarters. The AAF was responsible 
for the development and procurement of 
air supplies, the training and control of air 
combat units, and the planning of air op- 
erations. GHQwas responsible for the tac- 
tical training of ground combat units, 
combined air-ground training, and over- 
all planning for the defense of the conti- 
nental United States. Four territorial 
defense commands, created in the spring 
of 1941, provided a skeleton organization 
for conducting defense operations. 

In the third place, the War Department 
in Washington contained the offices of a 
number of combat arms, service arms, 
supply services, and administrative bu- 
reaus. The chiefs of the combat arms — 
Infantry, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery, 
and Cavalry — were responsible for the 
operation of training schools and for de- 
veloping tactical doctrine for their indi- 

vidual arms. One, the Chief of the Coast 
Artillery Corps, also had procurement re- 
sponsibility for certain coastal defense 
equipment and ammunition. The service 
arms and supply services were headed re- 
spectively by the Chief of Engineers, the 
Chief Signal Officer, the-Chief of Ord- 
nance, The Quartermaster General, The 
Surgeon General, and the Chief of the 
Chemical Warfare Service. The Adjutant 
General's Department, The Inspector 
General's Department, the Judge Advo- 
cate General's Department, and the Fi- 
nance Department were the War Depart- 
ment's administrative bureaus. 

In the fourth place, there were the four 
armies and the nine corps areas. The 
armies commanded most of the ground 
combat forces within the United States, 
and the corps areas supplied and managed 
most of the military posts. The corps areas 
were also responsible for performing much 
of the work of mobilizing a civilian army 
in case of an emergency, as they had been 
doing under the Selective Training and 
Service Act of 1940. 

Finally, there were a number of mis- 
cellaneous installations reporting directly 
to the Chief of Staff in Washington. These 
included ports of embarkation, certain 
schools such as the Command and Gen- 
eral Staff School and the United States 
Military Academy, disciplinary barracks, 
and general depots. 

Prior to the outbreak of war the proper 
role of the Air Forces, the ambiguous posi- 
tion of General Headquarters in relation 
to the General Staff and to field com- 

Js These figures are taken from a report to the 
Under Secretary of War by the management engi- 
neering company of Booz, Frey, Allen, and Hamilton, 
entitled Survey of the Office of the Under Secretary 
of War, dated 20 December 1941, and filed in the 
Under Secretary's office. This report will hereafter be 
cited as the Booz report. 



mand, and the uncertain relationship of of War Department organization soon 

the General Staff to the Under Secretary after the United States plunged into the 

of War in supply matters remained un- war. From this study emerged the reor- 

solved problems. These accumulated ganized Army which was to fight World 

problems brought about a re-examination War II. 


The Reorganization of the 
War Department 

Several different forces produced the 
extensive reorganization of the War De- 
partment which was officially announced 
by Secretary of War Stimson on 2 March 
1942. During the latter half of 1941, de- 
mands for changes in the existing organi- 
zation had come from various sources and 
were strangely interwoven. The result in 
1942 was an attempt to meet existing dis- 
satisfaction and at the same time to con- 
struct a workable Army high-command 
structure to direct the conduct of the war. 

The historians of the Army Ground 
Forces have observed that the Army Air 
Forces "took the lead and supplied the 
drive" for reorganization. 1 The motivation 
was simple enough. One of the paramount 
aims of many air leaders between the two 
wars had been the establishment of an in- 
dependent air force. 2 Although substantial 
progress toward this objective was made 
with the creation of the AAF in June 1941, 
the air leadership in the Army was still not 
content with its status. By late 1941, many 
persons within the Army Air Forces had 
become convinced "that the most success- 
ful solution would involve a radical reor- 
ganization of the military establishment, 
with the AAF enjoying virtual autonomy 
within the War Department." 3 

Though the Air Forces supplied the 
drive for reorganization, the initial im- 

petus came from Lt. Gen. Lesley J. 
McNair, the chief of staff of GHQ, who 
from the beginning had experienced diffi- 
culty with the uncertainty of his assigned 
mission and the relation of his command 
to the air arm and to the War Department 
General Staff. Originally General Head- 
quarters was viewed as the body that, 
when mobilized, would draft war plans 
and conduct actual operations. Largely 
based upon World War I experience, the 
early assumption had been that in the 
event of another war the United States 
would again send an expeditionary force 
to Europe. Just as General Pershing had 
determined the conduct of military oper- 
ations without guidance from the General 
Staff in Washington, so, it was assumed, 
General Headquarters would move over- 
seas to plan and direct operations of the 
new expeditionary force. Yet when GHQ, 
was established in July 1940, it did not in- 
clude the War Plans Division, which con- 
tinued to be the main center of strategic 
planning in the War Department. Unlike 

1 Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, The Organization 
of Ground Combat Troops, p. 153. 

2 Craven and Cate, AAF I, p. 17. 

3 Ibid., p. 115. On the Air Forces' drive for auton- 
omy, see also Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar 
Plans and Preparations, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 1950), Ch. IX. 



the situation in World War I, it seemed 
that military activity in a new conflict 
would take place on many fronts. It was 
therefore not practical to send War De- 
partment planners to any single theater 
because of the necessity of having a central 
headquarters for world-wide over-all 

Although General Marshall was both 
chief of the WDGS and commanding gen- 
eral of GHQ, the staffs of the two organ- 
izations had a separate identity and 
tended to move in somewhat different and 
even competitive paths. Moreover, when 
General Headquarters was originally set 
up, it was assigned a training mission rather 
than an operational one. 4 Even in this 
function of training, GHQ's responsibil- 
ities came into conflict with those of the 
chiefs of combat arms. The chiefs of arms 
propounded doctrine and trained individ- 
ual officers and men. GHQ, supervised the 
training of tactical units and developed 
the doctrine for their employment. There 
remained ample room for conflict between 
the chiefs of arms and General Head- 
quarters over the development of training 

The functions of GHQ, aside from 
training, remained ill-defined. On 3 July 
1941 a directive to General McNair gave 
him wide potential authority over the 
planning and control of military oper- 
ations in various fields. On the surface, 
this seemed to strengthen GHQ, but the 
authority was more nominal than actual. 5 
Hedged by many limitations, General 
McNair lacked sufficient control over sup- 
ply to carry out his enlarged responsibil- 
ity; furthermore other agencies had 
partial control in other respects over over- 
seas garrisons placed under his supervi- 
sion. It was not long before General 
McNair determined to have this anoma- 

lous situation remedied. On 25 July 1941 
he sent a memorandum to the Chief of 
Staff of the War Department requesting, 
simply enough, that overseas bases be 
grouped into defense commands and that 
General Headquarters be made respon- 
sible for directing all activities of these 
bases. 6 This memorandum precipitated a 
fundamental examination of the existing 
War Department and Army command 

In the discussions that followed, the 
problem of procurement and supply had 
to be faced. The planners seemed to feel 
that this problem was incidental to and 
dependent on the resolution of the larger 
general problems of command. But Gen- 
eral McNair appreciated the fact that a 
tactical mission without control of supply 
support created complications. He had en- 
countered that problem in several Atlantic 
bases. He therefore tended to favor the 
creation of a Services of Supply, modeled 
after Pershing's organization in France in 
1918, but applied to the zone of interior. 
The question of supply and procurement 
thus crept in through the back door, but 
nonetheless it remained an important con- 
sideration in the effort to find an adequate 
solution to the problem of organization. 7 

In mid- August 1941 Lt. Col. William 
K. Harrison, Jr., a WPD officer long in- 
terested in War Department organization, 

' Ltr, TAG to CG's of Corps Areas, Armies and 
Depts, Chiefs SAS and CO's exempted stas, 26 Jul 40, 
sub: GHQ, AG 320.2 (7-25-42) M (Ret) M-OCS. 

5 Ltr, TAG to CofS GHQ, 3 Jul 41, sub: Enlarge- 
ment of the Functions of GHQ, AG 320.2 (6-19-41) 

6 Memo, CofS GHQ for CofS, 25 Jul 41, sub: De- 
fense Comds, WPD 4558, Tab 1 . 

7 Memo, McNair for Gen William Bryden, 2 1 Oct 
41, sub: Functions, Responsibilities and Authority of 
GHQ and accompanying memos, 15 Aug 41,2 Sep 
41, filed together in WPD 4558 under Tab 12; Green- 
field, Palmer, and Wiley, The Organization of Ground 
Combat Troops, p. 148. 



presented the first clear-cut description of 
the principles of the plan which was later 
adopted. It included a sketch of the func- 
tions of a separate service force. 8 The War 
Plans Division, knowing that General 
Marshall still hoped to retain the frame- 
work of the existing organization, tempo- 
rarily shelved Harrison's plans, but the 
seed thus planted shortly took root. 9 

At this point, the Air Forces became the 
dominant factor in the drive toward reor- 
ganization. The idea of a service com- 
mand fitted in particularly well with its 
aims. When, toward the end of October, 
writing for General Arnold, Brig. Gen. 
Carl Spaatz recommended the abolition of 
GHQand the formation under the Chief 
of Staff of a small General Staff and au- 
tonomous air and ground forces, also he 
recommended a service force. 10 Like the 
Harrison proposal, this recommendation 
was at the moment unacceptable. The 
War Plans Division continued to wrestle 
with the problem. 11 

General Arnold broke the log jam in 
mid-November 1941. Emphasizing the 
importance of air power in modern war, 
he wrote directly to General Marshall and 
asked for a complete reorganization that 
would allow the air force to play its proper 
role. The Air Forces supported a plan pro- 
viding for three separate commands — air, 
ground, and service — with a Chief of Staff 
and a small General Staff in top control. 
The War Plans division received the 
Arnold memorandum for comment and 
concurred with it in principle. 12 General 
Marshall was "favorably impressed" and 
directed that the WPD develop the pro- 
posal in sufficient detail to determine its 
practicability. 13 

Thus the Army Air Forces became the 
champion of a thorough War Department 
reorganization which would include the 

creation of a Services of Supply. Remain- 
ing within the existing military framework 
meant it would need to work with the War 
Department supply bureaus. Since Gen- 
eral McNair had already suggested that 
his own General Headquarters could not 
function effectively unless it were given 
greater control of supply matters, and 
since the Air Forces was unwilling to see 
supply activities turned over to GHQ, it 
could logically support a plan to establish 
a separate supply command for ground 
and air forces under War Department 

Another strong reason for reorganiza- 
tion, and one tied in with Air Forces' pres- 
sure for change, was the fact that the 
administrative burden of the Chief of Staff 
was becoming increasingly heavy. This 
was a difficulty that had plagued generals 
and statesmen throughout history, and 
one that had become more and more bur- 
densome with the growing complexity of 
modern armies. Brig. Gen. Robert L. 
Bullard during World War I had ex- 
pressed the fear that the general staff sys- 
tem would break down because no one 
man could handle the details heaped on 
the Chief of Staff and still direct a war. 14 

8 Memo for GofS, sub: Org of the Army High 
Comd, WPD 4618. 

9 Col Frederick S. Haydon, War Department Re- 
organization, August 1941 -March 1942, MS, OCMH. 
This monograph discusses the reorganization exhaus- 
tively from the point of view of the Chief of Staff, but 
without examining in detail the problem of supply 
organization. See also Cline, Washington Command 
Post, pp. 70-74, 90-93. 

10 Memo, Spaatz for ACofS WPD, 24 Oct 41, sub: 
Functions, Responsibilities, and Authority of GHQ, 
WPD 4558, Tab 11. 

11 Haydon MS, cited in n. 9. 

12 Memo, Arnold for CofS, atchd to chart dated 
1 4 Nov 4 1 , sub: Reorg of the WD, WPD 46 1 4. 

" Memo, GofS for ACofS WPD, 25 Nov 41, WPD 

14 O. L. Nelson, National Security and the General 
Staff, p. 225. 



On the eve of World War II, in spite of 
specific orders to bring to his attention 
only those matters that could be handled 
by no one else, General Marshall was 
swamped by the demands on his time to 
decide relatively unimportant questions. 
No less than sixty-one officers and agen- 
cies, some with overlapping authority, had 
direct access to him. About fifty staff 
studies were given to him each day, leav- 
ing him time for little else. 15 With the cre- 
ation of three large commands to which 
administration in the zone of interior 
would be delegated, Marshall and the 
General Staff could concentrate on plan- 
ning and policy making. Among other 
things, it was hoped that this easing of the 
administrative burden would contribute 
toward a solution of the problem of or- 
ganizational relationships between air and 
ground forces. Although in sympathy with 
the desire of Air officers for a major role in 
the planning and direction of air opera- 
tions, General Marshall was determined 
to keep the Army Air Forces at least nom- 
inally in the existing military structure in 
order to promote collaboration between 
ground and air operations. He felt that 
this could be achieved more easily if he 
personally gave greater attention to the 
Air Forces. He was firmly convinced that 
he could do this and attend to general 
strategic planning and direction of opera- 
tions only if the War Department were so 
organized that the work of raising, train- 
ing, supplying, and servicing the Army in 
the United States was concentrated in the 
hands of the fewest possible persons 
reporting directly to him. 

Toward the end of November 1941, 
General Marshall was thus persuaded to 
proceed with a study of War Department 
reorganization. A committee of three was 
created to undertake this investigation. To 

serve as chairman of the committee, Mar- 
shall brought back Brig. Gen. Joseph T. 
McNarney from England where he had 
been serving as an observer. The other two 
members were Colonel Harrison of WPD 
and Lt. Col. Laurence S. Kuter of the 
Office of the Secretary of the General 
Staff. The work on reorganization was 
suspended shortly after the Japanese at- 
tack on Pearl Harbor when General Mc- 
Narney was dispatched to Hawaii with 
the Roberts Board to investigate that mili- 
tary disaster. For the moment, reorgani- 
zation had to wait, even though the 
advent of war had given a new urgency to 
the problem. 

Reorganization of the OUSW 

The various reorganization plans circu- 
lating before December 1941 failed to take 
into account the vital role of the Under 
Secretary of War. As noted earlier, his of- 
fice had grown into a sizable staff super- 
vising War Department activities in the 
field of procurement and general eco- 
nomic mobilization. A reorganization 
which affected supply operations would 
probably necessitate a reorganization of 
Under Secretary Patterson's office. 16 

Prior to his appointment in 1940 as As- 
sistant Secretary of War, Mr. Patterson 
had had little experience in procurement 
or other industrial affairs, nor had he even 
read Section 5a of the National Defense 
Act of 1920 which outlined the responsi- 

15 Haydon MS, cited in n. 9. 

19 Mr. Patterson had had a distinguished career. 
His record as an officer in World War I had been ex- 
ceptional. In the 1920's he had been a successful law- 
yer in New York City, and in 1930 President Herbert 
Hoover had appointed him a judge of the United 
States District Court. Nine years later, President 
Roosevelt promoted him to the Circuit Court of Ap- 
peals. During this period he had kept alive his in- 
terest in the Army as a Reserve officer. 



bilities of his new position. But, working 
in close harmony with Secretary of War 
Stimson, Patterson soon showed in high 
degree all the qualities that make a suc- 
cessful administrator. Though inexperi- 
enced as a business executive, he was an 
indefatigable worker, co-operative, mod- 
est, and willing to take advice. -He often 
conferred with Bernard Baruch, for many 
years highly regarded as an expert on 
government problems. 17 

Mr. Patterson took office coincidentally 
with the launching of a huge mobilization 
program in the summer of 1940. A major 
difficulty for him was the relatively indif- 
ferent caliber and low rank of the military 
personnel attached to his organization. 
Rebuffed in the attempt to gain control 
over procurement activities after World 
War I, the General Staff had seemingly 
acquiesced in civilian domination over the 
business side of the War Department. One 
result was that the Assistant Secretary's 
organization was removed from the main 
stream of military interest and activity. 
The officers assigned to it sometimes felt 
that they had reached a blind alley in 
their careers. Often their military rank 
was too low to permit effective perform- 
ance of duties. 18 But the difficulty was not 
only one of caliber and rank. The civilian 
and military personnel were too few in 
number to take care of the growing re- 
sponsibilities of their rapidly expanding 
office. In the first year of Mr. Patterson's 
incumbency, personnel multiplied about 
fivefold and new organizational arrange- 
ments were improvised in an effort to cope 
with the situation. 

Mr. Patterson set about to remedy mat- 
ters after his appointment as Under Secre- 
tary. In the summer of 1941 he employed 
a private firm, Booz, Frey, Allen, and 
Hamilton, management consultants, to 

make a study of the organization of his of- 
fice. This firm, which had just completed 
a survey in the Navy Department, began 
its work on 5 August and finished the task 
two weeks after Pearl Harbor. 19 

Before submitting their report, the man- 
agement consultants made a number of 
interim recommendations — such as one 
for the creation of a separate administra- 
tive branch. Some of these, the Under 
Secretary adopted. The final report, given 
to Mr. Patterson on 20 December 1941, 
described the organizational structure of 
the office and listed six major problems. In 
the first place, it pointed out that neither 
the personnel in the office nor those in the 
supply arms and services subject to the 
Under Secretary's supervision understood 
clearly the purpose of the office. In the 
second place, it noted that duplication and 
overlapping of functions reduced the ef- 
fectiveness of supervision. Third, the Booz 
report expressed the opinion that the mili- 
tary personnel often lacked sufficient rank, 
training, and general ability to perform 
their assigned duties. Fourth, the report 
harshly criticised current methods of sta- 
tistical reporting. Fifth, it also pointed to 
the difficult problems in the relationship of 
the office to other units of the War Depart- 
ment and to the civilian defense agencies 
of the Government. Finally, the report 
declared that the administrative services 
of the office needed improvement. 20 

17 Inter v, Anderson with Patterson, 22 Sep 44; 
Anderson, Introduction to the History of the Under 
Secretary of War's Office, MS, OCMH, Ch. VI. 

18 Booz Rpt; Goldthwaite H. Dorr, Memorandum 
Notes on the Activities of an Informal Group in Con- 
nection with Supply Reorganization in the War 
Department, January-May 1942, prepared about 1 
March 1946, filed in OCMH. (Hereafter cited as 
Dorr, Memorandum Notes.) 

,9 Corresp, 26 Jun 41-9 Mar 42, 310 Business 
Methods, OUSW, AG Recs. 
20 Booz Rpt. 



The management experts were espe- 
cially concerned about the relationship 
between the Under Secretary's office and 
the General Staff Supply Division (G-4). 
Where did the responsibility of the Supply 
Division end and that of the OUSVV 
begin? On this question, the Booz report 
proposed the dividing line suggested 
twenty years earlier by the Harbord 
Board. The Supply Division should trans- 
mit supply requirements to the Office of 
the Under Secretary, whose responsi- 
bilities would begin at this point. The 
Under Secretary would then approve the 
procurement estimates made by the sup- 
ply arms and services, and determine the 
industrial facilities, raw material require- 
ments, and manpower needed to provide 
supplies within the requested time period. 
The Booz report suggested various tech- 
niques for insuring fulfillment of this re- 
sponsibility. But, significantly, it did not 
consider whether this separation of super- 
visory responsibility between the Supply 
Division of the General Staff and the 
OUSW was workable. It said nothing 
about actual methods of obtaining closer 
working relationships with the Supply 
Division in the determination of supply 
requirements or in expediting procure- 

The most important change recom- 
mended in the Booz report was the pro- 
posal that the Under Secretary appoint a 
single executive, an Army officer, with the 
title of Procurement General, to direct the 
work of the office and to supervise the sup- 
ply arms and services. This executive 
should be given the rank of lieutenant 
general in the Army in order that he might 
have a military status superior to that of 
the chiefs of the supply arms and services, 
all of whom then held the rank of major 
general. This "improved military leader- 

ship" proposal was directly counter to the 
recommendations put forward in 1920 by 
Benedict Crowell. Mr. Crowell, it will be 
recalled, had wanted an industrialist to 
direct the procurement work of the War 
Department. With the position of Under 
Secretary now filled by a man who was 
not an industrialist, the Booz consultants 
evidently felt the office needed strength- 
ened contacts with the military procure- 
ment agencies. Indeed, in the procurement 
field it was conceivable that such a post 
might acquire status and authority com- 
parable to that of the Chief of Staff in the 
whole Military Establishment. 

The system of internal organization pro- 
posed by the Booz report for the Office of 
the Under Secretary was adopted with one 
glaring omission. The Under Secretary did 
not take steps to create the position of 
Procurement General. But the mere fact 
that such a post was recommended throws 
a revealing light upon what seemed, to 
outside observers, the basic weakness of 
the War Department's supply organi- 

Reorganization of G-4 

The Booz report, in recommending a 
clarification of the relationship of the Un- 
der Secretary to the Assistant Chief of 
Staff (G-4) was soon upheld by the march 
of events. On 25 November 1941 a new 
and forceful personality, Brig. Gen. Bre- 
hon B. Somervell, became G-4, WDGS. 
Two weeks later the United States was at 
war. Now, more than ever before, the sup- 
ply of military forces was of critical impor- 
tance. The training program had lagged 
in large part because there was not enough 
combat equipment. Shortages had slowed 
the strengthening of overseas garrisons, 
especially in the Pacific. Necessarily, some 
supplies had gone overseas under lend- 



lease. If training were to be speeded up, 
our allies aided, and military operations 
undertaken with hope of success, then 
supplies had to be provided from current 
industrial production at an ever increas- 
ing rate, and at the earliest possible 
moment. This meant that G-4 had to put 
all possible pressure upon the supply arms 
and services to speed up their procurement 
programs. Yet G-4 was not authorized 
to issue any orders on production mat- 
ters, for production was the bailiwick of 
the Under Secretary of War. Here was an 
impossible situation, especially in the light 
of General Somervell's determination to 
fulfill his supply responsibilities as compe- 
tently as possible. Being a man of action, 
he soon went to General Marshall with his 
views of the existing organizational set 
up. 21 

General Somervell, as he sized up his 
mission, realized that he could fulfill his 
duties and overcome organizational defects 
only by the closest possible co-operation 
with the OUSW. He stated this conviction 
directly to both Secretary Stimson and 
Under Secretary Patterson, and reiterated 
it on several subsequent occasions. 22 On 6 
January 1942 he telephoned Mr. Goldth- 
waite Dorr, an attorney in New York City, 
and asked him to come to Washington to 
study the problem of supply organization 
in the War Department. 23 According to 
both General Somervell and Mr. Dorr, the 
request was made with the approval of 
Secretary Stimson and Under Secretary 
Patterson. 24 

Mr. Dorr arrived in Washington on 7 
January 1942. General Somervell re- 
quested him to examine the problem of 
supply organization, particularly the rela- 
tion of the Supply Division of the General 
Staff to the Office of the Under Secretary 
of War and the supervisory relationships 

of both to the supply arms and services. 
Although Mr. Dorr was asked to serve as 
a consultant to the Secretary of War, he 
did not obtain an official appointment, 
received no compensation, and paid his 
own expenses. 25 

Mr. Dorr became chairman of an in- 
formal group which at first consisted of 
Mr. Robert R. West, director of the 
Bureau of Industrial Research at the Uni- 
versity of Virginia, and Dr. Luther Gulick, 
who had served on the President's Com- 
mittee on Administrative Management in 
1936 and was then a consultant to the Na- 
tional Resources Planning Board. Subse- 
quently, the group included Brig. Gen. 
Arthur H. Carter, previously a senior 
partner in the accounting firm of Haskens 

21 Interv, Anderson with Col James H. Graham, 
probably 1945, OCMH. 

25 Memo, 24 Jan 42, sub: WD Sup System — Pre- 
liminary Memo, DAD Misc Corresp; Memo, Somer- 
vell for OUSW, 20 Jan 42, Hq ASF, OUSW (1) 1941- 
42 (1): Memo, Somervell for OUSW, 3 Feb 42, Hq 
ASF, OUSW (1) 1941-42 (1). 

23 Mr. Dorr was a personal friend of Secretary 
Stimson and had known General Somervell for at 
least eight years. In 1906 he had joined Mr. Stim- 
son's staff when the latter was United States Attorney 
for the Southern net, New York. During World 
War I he was Assistant Director of Munitions under 
Benedict Crowell, and had become familiar with the 
procurement operations of that period. At the end of 
the war, Mr. Dorr returned to a legal practice in New 
York City where he was a member of the firm of 
Hines, Rearick, Dorr, and Hammond. 

2 * In an interview with Troyer Anderson, his his- 
torian, Patterson said he had no recollection of talk- 
ing to General Somervell about the Dorr study. It is 
probable that General Somervell told Patterson that 
he was planning to study supply and Patterson ap- 
proved in a general way. But while Patterson may 
have approved in theory, it is doubtful that he ap- 
proved or even knew about the specific lines along 
which the survey developed. 

25 This account is based on the personal memoran- 
dum of Mr. Dorr, cited in n. 18. This memorandum 
was written by Mr. Dorr after the end of the war. A 
copy was provided the author, who served on the staff 
of the informal group, by Mr. Dorr from his own per- 
sonal files. 



and Sells and then director of the Admin- 
istrative Branch in the Office of the Under 
Secretary, and James H. Graham, dean of 
the Engineering School of the University 
of Kentucky, who had been associated 
with General Somervell during World 
War I. An officer of General Somervell's 
staff, Lt. Col. Clinton F. Robinson, was 
the principal assistant to the informal 

It is an amazing circumstance that those 
interested in the reorganization, including 
Mr. Dorr and General Somervell, were 
seemingly unaware of the more compre- 
hensive plans then being discussed in the 
General Staff, while those planning the 
larger reorganization apparently did not 
appreciate the full effect of their plans 
on supply. Two streams could hardly 
flow very long in the same valley without 
merging; but during January 1942 they 
followed independent channels. 26 

The problem which the Dorr group was 
tackling was by no means novel; nor was 
the solution at which it arrived altogether 
original. The then director of defense aid 
in the War Department, Col. Henry S. 
Aurand had earlier remarked in an in- 
formal memorandum, "the crying need for 
reorganization of the War Department to 
put all supply in the hands of one man has 
been apparent since the time I joined the 
General Staff in May 1940." Colonel 
Aurand had consistently advocated uni- 
fication of the supply system. 27 The or- 
ganization finally accepted may have dif- 
fered in structure and detail from the 
proposal of Colonel Aurand, but it was 
founded on the same basic principle. 
Another advocate of this proposal, Col. 
Ralph H. Tate, in the office of Assistant 
Secretary of War John J. McCloy, also 
drew up an organizational scheme central- 
izing the control of supply activities. Other 

individuals in G-4 and in the War Pro- 
duction Board (WPB) had ideas on the 
subject. Mr. Dorr was familiar with most 
of these proposals. 28 Indeed, Colonel Au- 
rand was frequently consulted by Mr. 
Dorr and freely assisted in the informal 

The work of the Dorr group was, as its 
designation indicated, most informal. It 
kept no records. Its members worked in- 
dividually on various assignments, and 
met in a "hush-hush" atmosphere after 
regular working hours. The discussions 
were kept secret. In the course of its work 
the group explored a wide variety of sub- 
jects, the most important of which, as 
already noted, was the relation between 
G-4 and the Under Secretary of War. 29 

Mr. Dorr decided that there were three 
principal objectives: to develop a War De- 
partment supply program stating military 
supply needs by time periods; to make 
more effective the powers of the Under 
Secretary of War in supervising military 
procurement; and to persuade the WPB 

26 On 1 December 1941 the War Plans Division had 
asked each of the General Staff divisions to comment 
on the proposed War Department and Army reorgan- 
ization; this memorandum spoke of a "Commanding 
General, Service Command." O. L. Nelson, National 
Security and the General Staff, pp. 342-45. General 
Somervell has stated to the author that he has no re- 
collection of this memorandum. General Harrison 
remembers discussing this proposal with Somervell 
and with his branch chiefs shortly after Somervell be- 
came G-4. Ltr, W. K. Harrison to Col ThomasJ. 
Sands, OCMH, 7 Jul 50. In any event, before Feb- 
ruary 1942 there was no attempt to correlate the pro- 
jected G-4 reorganization with the larger War De- 
partment reorganization plan. 

27 Interv, Maj Gen James H. Burns, Ret, with 
Jonathan Grossman, 9 Feb 50; Informal memo, 
Aurand for Moore, 24 Nov 41, sub: Necessity for Im- 
mediate Action on Certain Projects, DAD Misc 
Corresp LL. Interestingly enough, a copy of a pre- 
liminary memorandum by Mr. Dorr is filed with the 
correspondence of Colonel Aurand's office. 

28 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 6-7. 

29 Interv, cited in n. 21. 



to give its attention primarily to increas- 
ing the production of raw materials and 
to allocating available supplies, leaving 
military procurement in the hands of the 
military agencies. 30 Only the second of 
these objectives specifically concerned 
War Department organization. Mr. Don- 
favored an arrangement similar to that in 
force during World War I whereby Gen- 
eral Goethals had reported to the Assist- 
ant Secretary on the business end of his 
job and to the Chief of Staff on the mili- 
tary. In other words, Mr. Dorr, as he him- 
self acknowledged, wanted to violate the 
dictum, "No man can serve two masters." 
He reasoned that he was dealing with a 
unique difficulty. Those responsible for 
military procurement had to know supply 
requirements as soon as possible in order 
to shape production plans and schedules. 
Those responsible for strategic plans 
wanted to delay committing themselves to 
specific requirements lest strategy became 
a "prisoner" of rigid logistical arrange- 
ments. The officers in G-4 who translated 
strategic objectives into specific require- 
ments of men and material were, in effect, 
in the middle, caught between these op- 
posing pressures. At the same time they 
alone were in a position to reconcile them. 
But under the existing arrangement, the 
determination of requirements was done 
not only in G-4 but also by a unit in the 
Office of the Under Secretary of War. Mr. 
Dorr concluded that it was essential to 
bring together under one individual the 
determination of requirements and the 
control of procurement operations which 
fulfilled them. 31 Undoubtedly these con- 
clusions of Mr. Dorr were also those which 
General Somervell had reached in his 
view of the work of G-4. 

Mr. Dorr learned from Assistant Secre- 
tary McCloy that this possibility of a uni- 

fied supply and procurement organization 
had been canvassed, but that no man had 
been found for the post who was mutually 
acceptable to the Chief of Staff and the 
Under Secretary of War. Apparently, 
several names were mentioned but none 
was acceptable to both parties. Mr. Dorr 
therefore turned his attention to develop- 
ing a plan for closer relationships between 
the officers in the Supply Division con- 
cerned with requirements and the persons 
supervising procurement operations in the 
OUSW. The crucial question of a unified 
top organization was left unanswered for 
the time being. 32 

Meanwhile, the Under Secretary was 
trying to achieve better control over the 
production operations of the supply arms 
and services. To assist him, Mr. William S. 
Knudsen, formerly director general of the 
Office of Production Management 
(OPM), was commissioned a lieutenant 
general and assigned to the Under Secre- 
tary's office as Director of Production. 
General Knudsen turned at once to pro- 
duction trouble-shooting. During the war 
he visited many plants and helped solve 
many production problems. Vital as this 
work was to prove — and Under Secretary 
Patterson once said that it was the equiv- 
alent of "10 percent in war production" — 
General Knudsen still provided no solu- 
tion to the problem of top level supply 
organization in the War Department. 33 

Early in February 1 942 General Somer- 
vell learned for the first time that a gen- 
eral reorganization of the War Depart- 
ment was in the offing. During much of 
December and January following Pearl 

30 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 7-9. 

31 Ibid., pp. 11-12. 

32 Ibid., pp. 10-12. 

33 Ibid., pp. 12-13. 



Harbor, General McNarney, who had 
been charged with planning it by Mar- 
shall, had been absent from Washington. 
When he returned on 23 January, the 
final touches were put on the War Depart- 
ment reorganization and on 31 January 
his recommendations were submitted to 
the Chief of Staff and given tentative 
approval. 34 

General Marshall called his staff to- 
gether on 5 February and explained 
briefly the reorganization plan he was 
considering. He gave the staff forty-eight 
hours to review the proposal and to make 
suggestions. 35 General Somervell, acting 
on the realization that a far-reaching 
change in the structure of the War De- 
partment was being undertaken, con- 
sulted Mr. Dorr and his group at once. 
Both agreed that the proposal for a service 
command did not go far enough. In their 
opinion, General McNarney and his plan- 
ners apparently did not understand the 
necessity of close interrelationships be- 
tween the Supply Division and the Under 
Secretary of War, or the role of the Under 
Secretary in the procurement activities of 
the War Department. The fact that the 
Office of the Under Secretary in June 
1941 had been moved into the so-called 
New War Department Building, a block 
away from the Munitions Building where 
the General Staff was located, may have 
contributed to this lack of understanding. 
The planners also did not seem to realize 
the extent to which supply operations at 
this time were dependent upon current 
production. 36 

Despite these shortcomings, Mr. Don- 
saw in the reorganization plan an oppor- 
tunity for recreating the kind of arrange- 
ment with which he had been familiar 
during World War I. He recognized that 
the General Staff apparently was now 

willing to put its supply responsibilities 
into a single command. This was one 
hurdle passed. Two more remained: to 
combine the large staff in the OUSW with 
the new supply command, and to find a 
chief for this command who would be ac- 
ceptable to both the Chief of Staff and 
the Under Secretary. 

Meanwhile, General McNarney told 
Somervell to draw up a supply organiza- 
tion which would meet the War Depart- 
ment's needs. Since the Chief of Staff was 
determined to announce a reorganization 
during the month of February, Somervell 
had to act quickly. This meant that only 
a few far-reaching changes could be intro- 
duced; there was no time to plan a thor- 
ough-going alteration of the existing sys- 
tem. 37 Assisted by two staff officers — Col. 
W. D. Styer and Lt. Col. C. F. Robinson- 
General Somervell prepared a plan for a 
unified organization to be known as the 
Services of Supply and commanded by an 
Army officer. This was very different from 
an enlarged G-4 type organization such 
as the Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Divi- 
sion of World War I. 

General Somervell accepted the exist- 
ence of the supply arms and services as 
then constituted with their combined pro- 
curement and distribution responsibilities 
divided on a broad commodity basis. The 
only change was the creation of a trans- 
portation organization in the headquar- 
ters of the new command which would 
remove transportation from the Office of 
The Quartermaster General. 

The question was raised as to whether 
there should be a Director of Procurement 

34 Genera] McNarney's reorganization recommen- 
dations are reproduced in O. L. Nelson, National Se- 
curity and the General Staff, p. 349. 

35 Ltr, W. K. Harrison to Sands, cited in n. 26. 

36 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 14-15. 

37 Ibid., pp. 15-16. 



under the commanding general of the 
SOS. A plan had been considered for a 
Director of Procurement and a Director 
of Distribution or Storage with important 
supervisory responsibilities. But the deci- 
sion to retain the supply arms and services 
made such a scheme unworkable. A com- 
promise was reached with the creation of 
a Director of Procurement and Distribu- 
tion who was in a sense a deputy to the 
commanding general for these functions. 
At the same time, the new supply com- 
mand was to become the budget and fi- 
nancial office of the War Department. 
There was precedent for this step in Gen- 
eral Goethals' authority in 1918, but an- 
other reason of current importance was 
the fact that since most of the appropria- 
tions to the War Department were for pro- 
curement, this arrangement would sim- 
plify the appropriation and accounting 
system for war purposes. 38 

There were many other points to con- 
sider. Was the Services of Supply also to be 
a personnel agency? Just before the armis- 
tice of 1918, Secretary of War Baker had 
favored the creation of a new personnel 
organization in the War Department, but 
the war ended before the decision could 
be effected. There was now a disposition 
to revive the plan and separate personnel 
administration from the supply operations 
of the new command. This immediately 
raised another question. What should be 
done with the administrative bureaus of 
the War Department such as the Judge 
Advocate General's office, the Chief of 
Chaplains, the National Guard Bureau, 
and the Post Exchange Service? Mr. Dorr 
believed that it would be undesirable to 
load up the SOS with a wide assortment 
of organizations functioning under its 
command. At one time he considered the 
possibility of placing these various services 

under Assistant Secretary of War McCloy. 
Mr. Dorr discussed the matter with him, 
but Mr. McCloy was reluctant to take 
over these diverse responsibilities. Then, 
the Chief of Staff made it clear that he did 
not wish to have a fourth command in the 
United States; since the SOS was expected 
to handle the common supply problems of 
the Department, it seemed the appropri- 
ate agency also to handle common admin- 
istrative problems. 39 In the end, it was 
decided to create a position of Chief of 
Administrative Services and group the 
various administrative bureaus under 

In the second week of February, after 
several adjustments, General Somervell 
submitted an acceptable plan for a unified 
supply and service command to General 
McNarney. The work on this, like the 
work of McNarney's committee, had been 
done in secret so as not to give anticipated 
opposition a chance to organize before the 
plan was complete. General Marshall had 
directed that even Under Secretary Pat- 
terson be kept in ignorance of develop- 
ments. 40 It was Mr. Dorr's belief that, 
though the reorganization plan "ignored 
the functions of the Under Secretary of 
War under the National Defense Act of 
1920," particularly in the bald form in 
which it was presented by General 
McNarney to Somervell, this was not be- 
cause of an "intentional design" to change 
the fundamental structure of the War De- 
partment. Rather it was because of "the 
inadvertence of a group of officers who did 
not know much about the supply side of 
the Army." 41 

18 Ibid., pp. 16-18. 
39 Ibid., pp. 19-20. 

10 Notes on Conf in ODCofS, 5 Feb 42, DCofS 
Recs, Notes on Conf and other Info, Feb 42, Binder 

41 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 14-15. 



Thus General Somervell, with the help 
of Mr. Dorr, modified the McNarney plan 
as it affected procurement operations and 
the Office of the Under Secretary. In 
working out last minute details, they re- 
stated the powers of the Under Secretary 
in order to conform, at least in part, to the 
original intention of the National Defense 
Act of 1920. 

Toward the end of February, Assistant 
Secretary McCloy who was handling re- 
organization details for Secretary Stimson 
asked General McNarney, General 
Somervell, Brig. Gen. Bennett E. Meyers, 
who was in charge of procurement for the 
Army Air Forces, and Mr. Dorr, to take 
up the proposal with Under Secretary 
Patterson. The latter was practically faced 
with a choice between accepting a fait 
accompli, or delaying the much needed re- 
organization. He might still influence de- 
tails, but the broad outline of the plan was 
probably already fixed. Mr. Patterson 
studied the plan. One of the first features 
on which he commented was the removal 
of procurement of Air Forces supplies from 
the jurisdiction of the SOS. Under the 
plan, the Under Secretary would still 
supervise air force procurement but not 
through the Services of Supply. The ar- 
rangement was defended by General 
Meyers on the ground that, because of the 
legislative interest in a completely auton- 
omous air force, it was essential at this 
time to keep air procurement separate 
from the common supply organization of 
the War Department. 42 

The Under Secretary was still not satis- 
fied with this arrangement. His staff had 
been supervising air materiel operations 
along with those of the other arms and 
services. Now, practically all of his staff 
was to be placed under the commanding 
general of the SOS, yet he personally was 
still expected to supervise the procurement 

operations of the Air Forces. In the end, 
the only solution was a dotted line on the 
organization chart of the proposed Serv- 
ices of Supply which indicated that on 
procurement and related functions, the 
materiel command of the AAF would be 
subject to the supervision of the SOS Di- 
rector of Procurement and Distribution in 
the name of the Under Secretary. 43 

The Under Secretary reserved decision 
on the plan as a whole in order to discuss 
the details with his own staff. The inclu- 
sion of Mr. Dorr in these subsequent dis- 
cussions did much to clarify the purpose of 
the reorganization. Indeed, it had been 
Mr. Dorr's influence which had resulted 
in the inclusion of words ordering the 
commanding general of the Services of 
Supply to act "under the direction of the 
Under Secretary of War" on "procure- 
ment and related matters." The Under 
Secretary raised the question whether the 
interposition of a SOS between himself 
and the supply arms and services would 
create obstacles to the performance of his 
basic responsibilities. Mr. Dorr argued 
that the position of the commanding gen- 
eral of the SOS on procurement matters 
would be comparable to that of an execu- 
tive vice-president or a general manager 
in a large corporation. The staff organiza- 
tion of the SOS would be available to the 
Under Secretary for his use, and Mr. Don- 
saw no reason why he should not be able 
to deal with the chiefs of the supply arms 
and services whenever he felt the need to 
do so. Furthermore, Mr. Dorr expressed 
the opinion that the Under Secretary 
would retain his own personal assistants, 
whom he had previously recruited and 
who were now associated with him, in his 
own office. He could devote himself to 
policy decisions and tough problems while 

"Ibid., pp. 21-22. 
43 Ibid., p. 22. 



the commanding general of the SOS 
would relieve him of a multitude of bur- 
densome details. 44 

Some of Mr. Patterson's assistants did 
not agree with Mr. Dorr's arguments. 
They believed that since the loyalty of the 
commanding general of the SOS under 
the proposed plan would be to the Chief 
of Staff first, the Under Secretary would 
play a much reduced role. The director of 
the Bureau of the Budget, who was much 
concerned, asked that the President pro- 
tect the Under Secretary by defining his 
powers. Otherwise he believed, "the pro- 
posed arrangement could easily result in 
purchase and procurement work being in- 
sulated from the top civilian side of the 
Department." 45 

Mr. Patterson himself seemed disposed 
to follow the general outline of reorganiza- 
tion. He rejected the advice of one of his 
most trusted assistants who prepared a di- 
rective to be included in the plan which 
would require that important changes in 
the supply organization be reviewed for 
final approval by the Under Secretary of 
War. Mr. Patterson opposed such a meas- 
ure because he believed that in time he 
could work out problems with the supply 
head on an informal basis. 46 

The Under Secretary, on the other 
hand, did require certain changes in the 
plan for amalgamating his staff with that 
of G-4. Initially, the plan had contem- 
plated combining the supervision of re- 
quirements and production in a single 
unit. At the Under Secretary's insistence, 
the separate identity of the two offices con- 
cerned with these activities was preserved, 
though both were placed under a Deputy 
Chief of Staff for Requirements and Re- 
sources. 47 

Mr. Dorr had several times pointed out 
that the central problem was to find a 
head for the new command who would be 

suitable to both Chief of Staff Marshall 
and Under Secretary Patterson. Toward 
the end of February, Mr. Patterson 
learned that General Somervell was being 
considered by the Chief of Staff for the job. 
He had already had some contact with 
General Somervell. He had admired the 
vigor with which Somervell as chief of the 
Construction Division in the Office of The 
Quartermaster General had pushed the 
building of Army camps, and had recom- 
mended him for an award of an oak leaf 
cluster to his Distinguished Service 
Medal. 48 On the other hand, he had ex- 
perienced at first hand General Somer- 
vell's brusqueness which could and did 
antagonize people. Late in 1941, in order 
to speed production, Mr. Patterson had 
approved the construction of an arsenal 
near the coast at Houston, Texas. Somer- 
vell curtly wrote him that the only other 
similar plant was also near the coast, and 
he hoped that it "will not be put out of 
production by enemy action. It is likewise 
hoped that, with thousands of square miles 
and almost unlimited facilities ... no 
more production facilities will be located 
outside the strategic area." 49 General 
Somervell was quick to apologize for the 
tone of his letter; the very next day, he 

14 Ibid., pp. 23-27. 

45 Memo, Dir Bureau of the Budget, 25 Feb 42, 
quoted in O. L. Nelson, National Security and the Gen- 
eral Staff, p. 351. 

46 Intervs, Anderson with Patterson, Col Gerson K. 
Heiss, Miles Knowles, H. C. Petersen, and Brig Gen 
Edward Greenbaum, 1944-45; Interv, Burns with 
Grossman, 9 Feb 50. Summaries of all intervs are in 
OCMH files. 

47 Upon General Somervell's recommendation the 
Under Secretary accepted Brig. Gen. Lucius D. Clay 
for this latter position. 

48 Memo, USW for SW, 22 Dec 41; Memo, Patter- 
son for Somervell, 27 Nov 41. Both in OUSW file, 
Personal Folders, Gen Somervell. 

49 Memo, Somervell for USW, 31 Dec 41, Somer- 
vell Files, Hq ASF, USW (1) 1941-42 (1). 



wrote a "please-do-not-bother-to-answer- 
this" note saying he held Mr. Patterson in 
the highest personal and professional 
esteem and that he was greatly distressed 
to learn that his memorandum had given 
offense. 50 The letter and issue were trivial, 
but they were characteristic of the Somer- 
vell drive. Mr. Patterson admired General 
Somervell's dynamic personality but was 
somewhat worried about future relations 
with him. He mentioned it not only to Mr. 
Dorr, but to many others including the 
new chairman of the War Production 
Board, Donald M. Nelson. Mr. Nelson, 
who shortly thereafter became involved in 
a hot dispute with General Somervell, at 
this time recommended him as a good 
man to occupy this important military 
position dealing with supply. Mr. Don- 
also spoke highly of General Somervell 
but tactfully added that in a question of 
personality, Mr. Patterson should use his 
own judgment. Patterson then acquiesced 
in both the reorganization and the ap- 
pointment of General Somervell. 51 

The completed reorganization plan was 
ordered into effect by the President on 28 
February 1942, 52 and on 2 March 1942 
Secretary Stimson announced the reor- 
ganization in a press release. In a brief 
memorandum to those members of his 
staff transferred to the new command, 
asking that they share their loyalty to him 
with the new commanding general, Under 
Secretary Patterson declared that the uni- 
fication of supply "under the vigorous 
leadership of General Somervell, will en- 
able us to perform our huge task with 
greater dispatch and better coordina- 
tion." 53 On 9 March 1942 General 
Somervell assumed his new responsibilities 
as commanding general of the Services of 
Supply, or, as it will be called hereafter, 
the Army Service Forces. 54 

The Reorganization of 9 March 1942 

The President's executive order direct- 
ing the reorganization of March 1942 at- 
tracted relatively little public attention. It 
was practically swept off the front pages 
of the newspapers by the dramatic Japa- 
nese push into Java and by British com- 
mando raids on the German-held French 
coast. Nevertheless this brief and prosaic 
order, in the words of one commentator, 
directed "the most drastic and fundamen- 
tal change which the War Department 
had experienced since the establishment 
of the General Staff by Elihu Root in 
1903." 51 

The President's order authorized the 
Secretary of War to prescribe the functions 
and duties of the new commands. As 
Commander in Chief, the President spe- 
cifically reserved the authority to deal di- 
rectly with the Chief of Staff on matters 
concerning military strategy and tactics. 

50 Memo, Somervell for USW, 1 Jan 42, Somervell 
Files, Hq ASF, USW (1) 1941-42 (1). 

31 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 26-27. Somervell 
had indirectly learned early in February that he was 
General Marshall's choice for the job. In Somervell's 
mind there was never any doubt that the crucial fac- 
tor in his appointment was General Marshall's own 
decision. He always assumed not only that the new 
supply command was General Marshall's own cre- 
ation, but also that whoever headed it was General 
Marshall's man. It was primarily the Chief of Staff, 
he believed, who had to be satisfied with the perform- 
ance of the Services of Supply. 

s2 EO 9028, 28 Feb 42. 

53 Memo, USW for Staff, 10 Mar 42, OUSW, misc 
under sub, SOS Girs and Memos. 

54 As already noted, the designation Army Service 
Forces did not come into official use until March 
1943. General McNarney's papers generally spoke of 
a "service command." The old AEF term Services of 
Supply began to appear in General Somervell's papers 
about 16 February 1942 and was used in the execu- 
tive order of 28 February and in War Department 
Circular 59, 2 March 1942. 

55 O. L. Nelson, National Security and the General 
Staff, p. 335. 



The executive order became effective on 9 
March 1942, and was to remain in force 
during the war and for six months there- 
after. Detailed War Department instruc- 
tions with respect to the reorganization 
were issued in War Department Circular 
59, dated 2 March 1942. Simultaneously, 
the War Department in a press release ex- 
plained to the public that the creation of 
three separate commands under the Chief 
of Staff — ground, air, and service — was 
needed in order to get away from the exist- 
ing cumbersome staff structure. The re- 
distribution of duties was expected to 
streamline the Department and gear it to 
world-wide operations. Through reor- 
ganization, it was hoped to obtain better 
control over important matters, to delegate 
details, and to achieve greater co-opera- 
tion between air and ground forces. 56 

Under the new concept, the War De- 
partment General Staff would be com- 
posed of a small number of officers who 
would assist the Chief of Staff "in strategic 
planning and direction, and in coordinat- 
ing the activities of the three great com- 
mands in order to provide theater com- 
manders with the broad directives and 
with the means for conducting the actual 
war operations." 57 

The new Commanding General, Army 
Air Forces, succeeded to most of the duties 
previously allocated to the chief of the 
Army Air Forces, together with some new 
ones. The air command was to have its 
own general and administrative staffs. It 
would train and equip air units for both 
"independent air striking and for com- 
bined combat operations with the ground 
forces." 58 The Air Forces would also be 
responsible for the research, design, de- 
velopment, and procurement of all items 
peculiar to air operations. 

The new Commanding General, Army 

Ground Forces, took over responsibility 
for organizing and training ground com- 
bat troops. The functions of the semiau- 
tonomous chiefs of the combat arms of 
infantry, cavalry, field artillery, and coast 
artillery were, for the most part, absorbed 
by the Commanding General, Army 
Ground Forces, and the arms thereby lost 
their independent status. In consequence, 
they could now be better trained as a 
balanced combat team. 

To the Commanding General, Army 
Service Forces, fell the task of relieving 
the fighting arms, air and ground, of the 
"distraction and effort required by sup- 
ply, procurement, and general housekeep- 
ing duties, except for experimental de- 
velopment and procurement peculiar to 
the Air Forces." 59 He was also expected to 
relieve the Chief of Staff of details of ad- 
ministration, including budgets, induction 
of personnel, the maintenance of records, 
and similar matters. 

War Department Circular 59 described 
the organizational structure of the ASF 
and set forth the duties assigned to the 
new command. These duties covered a 
wide field. The Chief of Staff was deter- 
mined that there would be no more than 
three commands in the United States re- 
porting to him. Therefore, all responsi- 
bilities which did not fit into the Ground 
or Air Forces were dumped into the Serv- 
ice Forces. The ASF thus became a catch- 
all command, as already indicated. Some 
of the duties logically belonged in it; 
others were put there because they could 
not logically be placed anywhere else. 

The hard core of the Army Service 

Forces was the procurement and supply 

56 WD press release, BPR, "Reorganization of the 
War Department," 2 Mar 42. 
" Ibid. 

58 Ibid. 

59 Ibid. 



function. The bulk of the Office of the 
Under Secretary of War, because it was 
concerned with procurement and indus- 
trial mobilization, along with most of the 
personnel of G-4 of the General Staff, be- 
came part of the new organization. The 
chiefs of the six supply arms and services, 
who formerly reported directly to the 
Chief of Staff, now reported to the Com- 
manding General, ASF. These arms and 
services were the Quartermaster Corps, 
the Ordnance Department, the Corps of 
Engineers, the Medical Department, the 
Signal Corps, and the Chemical Warfare 
Service. In addition, the procurement and 
supply duties of the Coast Artillery Corps 
were transferred to the Ordnance De- 

The new setup of 9 March 1942 recog- 
nized an organizational need which had 
been evident in the top command of the 
Army, both overseas and in the United 
States, since World War I. This need was 
to handle all procurement and all supply 
operations as one integrated activity. No 
supply arm or service could do the job by 
itself. An army in combat had to have all 
its supplies, from weapons and ammuni- 
tion to gasoline, food, and clothing, on a 
schedule which brought all of these items 
together in the right place at the right 
time. The ASF was the War Department's 
answer to this vital need in World War II. 

The "mission" of the ASF "to provide 
services and supplies to meet military re- 
quirements" imposed upon it duties in 
addition to its functions of procurement 
and supply, as already stated. These duties 
were not precisely defined, several over- 
lapped, and some were susceptible of elas- 
tic interpretation. Among them were 
included the direction of research, storage, 
and distribution of supplies; purchasing 
and contractual procedures; construction 

for the Army; consolidation of supply pro- 
grams and requirements procured for the 
Army, Navy, and defense aid; fiscal ad- 
ministration; direction of certain Army- 
wide functions such as premilitary 
training, manpower mobilization, and 
labor relations; operation of reception 
centers, replacement training centers, and 
training schools for the supply arms and 
services; technical training of individuals, 
basic training of service troops, and tech- 
nical training of service units; the furnish- 
ing of ASF personnel to the Army Air and 
Ground Forces, theaters of operations, and 
overseas forces; and a large number of 
other duties. 60 

Many organizations were made part of 
the ASF to assist in its "mission" to "pro- 
vide services and supplies to meet military 
requirements." Among these were the 
various administrative bureaus of the War 
Department. These included the offices of 
the Judge Advocate General, The Adju- 
tant General, the Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral, the Chief of Special Services, the 
Chief of Chaplains, and the Chief of 
Finance. Various regional organizations 
and installations also performed duties 
which might be classified as supply and 
administrative duties. Corps area com- 
manders, general depots, regulating and 
reconsignment stations for overseas ship- 
ments, and ports of embarkation were all 
placed under the Army Service Forces. 61 
The commanding general of the new ASF 
was given the functions, responsibilities, 
and authority of command which by law, 
regulation, or custom had been formerly 
vested in the heads of the units assigned to 
him. 62 He could also consolidate these 

60 WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, Sec. It. 

61 Ibid., Sec. 2e. 

62 Ibid., Sec. lb. 



units and make "such amalgamation, re- 
allocation of duties, and reorganization as 
is necessary or advisable." 63 

Circular 59 expressly noted the dual 
responsibility of the commanding general 
of the Army Service Forces; on business 
matters he reported to the Under Secre- 
tary of War and on military matters to the 
Chief of Staff. 64 No attempt was made to 
delimit the two spheres of activity. When 
General McNarney testified before the 
Senate Committee on Military Affairs on 
6 March 1942, he admitted that this was 
an arrangement "which you might say 
violates good organization." He added 
that while the commanding general of the 
ASF would have two bosses, they were 
"for two different purposes, but the pur- 
poses are somewhat interrelated." Mc- 
Narney declared that the two functions of 
procurement and supply had to be 
merged. Under this arrangement, they 
were joined at the highest practical level 
and this was the "best practical solution" 
to the problem. 65 

Circular 59 also stated, at the insistence 
of Under Secretary Patterson, that the 
responsibilities placed on the Secretary of 
War in Section 5a of the National Defense 
Act "shall continue to be performed by 
the Under Secretary of War." 66 But with 
most of his staff transferred to the Army 
Service Forces there was some question as 
to how the Under Secretary would do this 
work. Theoretically, he would function on 
a policy level, the ASF on an operating 
level. The reorganization did provide the 
Under Secretary with a solid basis of for- 
mal and statutory authority to determine 
policy. It remained to be seen whether 
with a small personal staff and with Gen- 
eral Somervell in a position of dual 
responsibility, he could make this author- 
ity effective. 

Some Problems of the Reorganization 

The War Department reorganization 
brought with it serious problems of status 
and jurisdiction. From the beginning there 
was much antagonism toward the ASF. A 
Senator on the Military Affairs Commit- 
tee commented, "I don't see what use 
there is in this setup of a commanding 
general in charge of services and sup- 
ply." 67 Many men of high military rank 
also disagreed with the plan. From the 
moment it went into effect, there were 
various efforts to upset it. After the war, 
the structure set up in March 1942 was 
swept away and replaced by one not un- 
like the prewar arrangement. 

The housekeeping function in an organ- 
ization can be interpreted both broadly 
and strictly. Those who perform such 
duties, especially if they are strong and 
vigorous personalities, sometimes tend to 
absorb the powers of those whom they are 
supposed to serve. The Mayors of the 
Palace in France during the early Middle 
Ages, though originally only housekeeping 
officials, gradually extended their service 
functions until they replaced their royal 
masters. The organization of 1942 had en- 
dowed General Somervell with a good 
deal of administrative power and many 
feared he would build an "empire." 

On the other hand, if the Army Service 
Forces was to have any practical value, it 
had to relieve the Chief of Staff and the 

63 Ibid., Sec. Id. 
81 Ibid., Sec. 7*. 

65 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
Senate, 77 th Cong, 2d Sess, on Department of Defense 
Co-ordination and Control Bill, 6 Mar 42, pp. 6-7. 

66 WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, Sec. 7a; Dorr, Memoran- 
dum Notes, pp. 24-25. 

67 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
Senate, 77th Cong, 2d Sess, on Department of Defense 
Co-ordination and Control Bill, 6 Mar 42, p. 5. 



General Staff of operating and administra- 
tive functions so that the staff could devote 
itself to planning and strategy. The fact 
that the ASF took over many functions 
which previously had been performed on 
a higher rung of the ladder of the military 
hierarchy did not mean that the functions 
themselves were less important. The cre- 
ation of the ASF did not relegate supply 
matters to a corner where no one need 
worry further about them. It simply made 
one man the key figure in handling these 
problems and that man had to act with 
authority. By the nature of his responsi- 
bilities, the commanding general of the 
Army Service Forces could scarcely hope 
to please everyone. If he interpreted his 
function strictly and acted with deference 
to those who had been reduced in the or- 
ganizational hierarchy, he could not rise 
to the urgency of the situation; if he acted 
with vigor and efficiency, he was an 
"empire builder." 

To make a difficult situation even more 
difficult, the ASF was not a well-inte- 
grated organization, and its commanding 
general, though vested with wide jurisdic- 
tion, was not fully the master in his own 
house. In contrast, the Army Air Forces 
and the Army Ground Forces were far 
better unified. 

The AAF, since its creation in June 
1941, had been composed of two major 
parts, the Air Force Combat Command 
and the Office of the Chief of the Air 
Corps. These two component parts were 
now abolished and their responsibilities 
vested in the commanding general of the 
Army Air Forces. The position of a 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Air in the War 
Department was also abolished. All this 
meant simply that General Arnold, by vir- 
tue of one title, would perform all of the 
duties which he had previously performed 

with two or three titles. He was now able 
to create such subordinate commands and 
staffs as he thought desirable. Moreover, 
for several years the component parts of 
the AAF had developed a common loyalty 
to the concept of the air mission in combat 
operations. There was thus a unity of 
purpose and of tradition within the AAF. 

In the case of the Army Ground Forces, 
the executive order of 28 February 1942 
transferred the functions and authority of 
the chiefs of Infantry, Cavalry, Field Ar- 
tillery, and Coast Artillery to the com- 
manding general of the AGF, Lt. Gen. 
L.J. McNair. The new command head- 
quarters of the AGF was the already exist- 
ing General Headquarters which had first 
been formed in 1940. Thus, out of the re- 
organization, General McNair received a 
mission which was somewhat more limited 
in scope than that originally envisaged for 
GHQ, but he retained an existing staff in- 
tact. In addition, by absorbing the duties 
of the four chiefs of combat arms, much of 
the friction which he had experienced in 
the past was eliminated. 

The commanding general of the Army 
Service Forces inherited no such unified 
organization. He simply received com- 
mand authority over various agencies, 
each of which retained its separate iden- 
tity and many of which retained a degree 
of autonomy. True, with the creation of 
the ASF, the chiefs of supply and admin- 
istrative services had been moved down a 
peg in the hierarchy, for the major organ- 
izational change introduced by the estab- 
lishment of the ASF was to interpose a 
new level of command into the War De- 
partment between the chiefs of supply and 
administrative services and the Chief of 
Staff. Whereas each of these chiefs previ- 
ously had reported directly to the Chief of 
Staff, they now reported to the command- 



ing general of the Army Service Forces. 
Nevertheless, the various heads of bureaus 
still retained a good deal of authority and 
responsibility. They were not an easy 
group to transform into a tight-knit, 
unified organization. 

Another difficulty lay in the wide range 
of separate functions performed by the 
ASF. It was more than a procurement and 
supply agency of the War Department. 
Actually, all the many miscellaneous ac- 
tivities which had grown up within the 
War Department over a long period of 
time were simply assigned en bloc to the 
Army Service Forces. In consequence, the 
ASF was expected, among other things, to 
relieve the Chief of Staff and the War De- 
partment General Staff of housekeeping 
burdens. The ASF thus became a com- 
mand of "things in general." This variety 
of duties was to create one of the major 
internal organizational problems for the 
ASF in the years ahead. 

A feature that many people failed to 
understand was that the Army Service 
Forces was a very different command from 
either the AAF or the AGF. The latter two 
were expected primarily to train combat 
units for military operations against the 
enemy. The mission of the ASF was to pro- 
vide services for the other two forces and 
for overseas commands. 

The role of the ASF as a common 
agency for War Department research and 
development, and for procurement and 
supply, was far less important with respect 
to the Air Forces than with respect to the 
Ground Forces. This arose from the fact 
that the AAF did its own research and de- 
velopment work. Although the Army 
Ground Forces shared responsibility with 
the ASF for development activities and 
testing military equipment, and although 
it decided the quantities of equipment de- 

sirable for various types of ground combat 
units, the really extensive research on 
ground equipment was done by the tech- 
nical services within the Army Service 
Forces. The ASF also determined require- 
ments and made arrangements for pro- 
duction, delivery, storage, and issue of 
ground equipment. Its procurement and 
supply activities for the AGF therefore 
surpassed those for the AAF. The Air 
Forces procured its own aircraft and re- 
lated items. It had to turn to the ASF for 
such supplies as food, clothing, and other 
items which it used in common with the 
AGF. In the procurement and supply of 
such items, the ASF was recognized as a 
common agency for the War Department. 
But the largest part of the supply work of 
the ASF was performed for ground troops, 
both in the United States and overseas. 

The Army Service Forces was unique in 
other respects than in being a common 
supply agency for the two commands in the 
United States and for the various theaters 
of operations overseas. For one thing, it 
was initially designated to be the budget 
agency of the War Department. It became 
responsible for the induction, initial classi- 
fication, and the assignment of personnel 
for the Army as a whole. It also provided 
common medical, communication, and 
transportation services for the Army. Thus 
the ASF was by no means a "co-ordinate" 
command with the Air Forces and the 
Ground Forces. Rather, it was a com- 
mand set up to assist these two commands 
and to handle overseas service and supply 
needs. The essence of its special character 
could be found in its description as the 
"common supply and service agency" of 
the War Department. 

An important problem for the future 
was to arise from those provisions of Circu- 
lar 59 which assigned to the Army Air 



Forces the "command and control" of its 
own air bases in the continental United 
States. This command included all person- 
nel of units and installations located at the 
air base "including station complement 
personnel and activities." In practice, the 
assignment of command authority at air 
bases to the Army Air Forces meant that 
the AAF itself retained responsibility for 
the performance of medical services, util- 
ity services, recreational activities, chap- 
lain services, and many other administra- 
tive or housekeeping duties at these bases. 
On the other hand, no such duties were 
vested in the commanding general of the 
Ground Forces. The AGF occupied its 
training stations on a kind of "user" or 
"lessee" basis. The actual operation of the 

ground posts which housed troops in 
training, fell to the ASF. 

No one, of course, expected the reorgan- 
ization of 9 March 1942 to be perfect. 
Indeed Circular 59 itself stated that 
"experience of the first three months" 
would probably indicate the desirability 
of "minor modifications" in the proposed 
organization. Yet, at the same time, it was 
equally clear that no fundamental changes 
in the 9 March pattern of organization 
were expected for the duration of World 
War II. The War Department had decided 
upon the general scheme of organization 
for the conduct of its part of the war effort. 
The Secretary of War and the Chief of 
Staff expected the arrangement to prove 
both workable and helpful. 




The Procurement and 
Supply Activities of the ASF 

The Army Service Forces came into 
being during a crucial period. The de- 
fenders of Bataan were trading their lives 
for time. To reinforce them had proved 
impossible; their battle was but a delaying 
action to permit the establishment of de- 
fense lines to the South and Southeast. 
Elsewhere in the Pacific the Japanese 
moved almost at will. In western Europe 
German forces were unchallenged, and 
England awaited the long-delayed inva- 
sion from across the Channel. If German 
armies were momentarily stalled in Rus- 
sia, most observers credited this to the 
winter weather, and expected Germany to 
resume her march in the spring. 

On the economic front, too, the Allies 
were still being worsted. In modern war- 
fare, materiel has an unprecedented im- 
portance. Leadership, loyalty, courage, 
and other military virtues are not the 
monopoly of any one nation. It is no dero- 
gation of the quality of American soldiers 
to say that German and Japanese troops 
were as patriotic and brave as our own. 
The difference in the fighting ability of 
armies is often the difference in the quan- 
tity and quality of their weapons. Wars 
are won and lost partly on the production 
line. Because of an early start, Germany 
and Japan were well ahead of the Allies in 
production at the outbreak of war. But 

that lead was overcome during 1941 and 
for a while, Allied production forged 
head. Then Germany and Japan began to 
develop their newly conquered resources 
and made a new bid for industrial su- 
premacy. During 1942 and 1943 the Axis 
outproduced Great Britain and Russia. 
The outlook for United States war pro- 
duction, eventually to be the deciding fac- 
tor, was still uncertain in March 1942. 1 

Military procurement and supply were 
only one part of the struggle of economic 
resources, and the ASF was responsible for 
only a part of the total American eco- 
nomic effort. Nevertheless it was still faced 
with a huge task. A few statistics will per- 
haps indicate how huge. When the United 
States became involved actively in the war 
in December 1941, the Army had reached 
a strength of nearly 1.7 million men. Only 
192,663 of these were stationed outside the 
United States. At that time a total of 
thirty- seven divisions had been created, 
but only three of these plus a few nondivi- 
sional units were overseas. In terms of 
training, another seventeen were ready for 
combat; in terms of supply, there was little 

1 Troyer Anderson, Munitions for the Army, A Five 
Year Report on the Procurement of Munitions by the 
War Department under the Direction of the Under 
Secretary of War, 9 Apr 46, OCMH, pp. 20-22. 



equipment for them. If all the critical 
items of military equipment had been 
pooled, five infantry and two armored 
divisions of the thirty-four in the United 
States could have been prepared for com- 
bat soon after Pearl Harbor. 

At the end of 1941 the United States 
Army had 1,100 antiaircraft guns in the 
hands of troops or delivered to depots. 
There were 9,000 field guns, 78,000 ma- 
chine guns, 2,000,000 rifles, 4,000 tanks, 
and 200,000 trucks. There was sufficient 
clothing for a million more men than were 
in the Army, although 300,000 of them 
would have lacked overcoats. There were 
no crawler tractors, or airplane landing 
mats. There were some 10,000 radio sets 
for ground communication, less than 
6,000 radio sets for aircraft, and about 500 
radar sets. There was practically no trans- 
portation equipment, almost no chemical 
warfare equipment, and little in the way 
of medical supplies. In December 1941 the 
Army provided ground equipment worth 
$13,500,000 for lend-lease. In the same 
month procurement deliveries of all kinds, 
exclusive of aircraft, came to $360,000,- 
00d. 2 

From these meager beginnings the 
Army Service Forces swiftly moved for- 
ward until, in the single month of March 
1945, procurement deliveries reached a 
total of more than two billion dollars. In 
three-and-one-half years the ASF ob- 
tained 96,000 tanks, 61,000 field guns and 
7,000,000 rifles. It bought over 2,300,000 
trucks. Clothing of all kinds was obtained 
in large quantities, including 80,000,000 
pairs of shoes, 505,000,000 pairs of socks, 
and 143,000,000 cotton khaki and flannel 
shirts. The ASF bought 78,000 crawler 
tractors, 15,000 cranes and shovels, and 
over 800,000,000 square feet of airplane 
landing mats. The Army was provided 

with more than 1,200,000 radio sets and 
20,000 radar sets. For transportation pur- 
poses overseas, the ASF bought 98,000 
railway cars, 7,000 steam locomotives, and 
6,000 barges. In the field of chemical war- 
fare, nearly 2 billion pounds of incendiary 
bombs were procured, along with 1 1 mil- 
lion mortar shells, and nearly 41,000 
flame throwers. Medical deliveries in- 
cluded 9,000 X-ray machines, 10,000,000 
surgical instruments, and 31.5 million 
first-aid packets. ASF purchases included 
also such diverse items as 1,000 Diesel lo- 
comotives and 136,000,000 pairs of 
trousers. 3 

There is sharp difference of opinion 
over whether the ASF paid too much for 
what it procured. Cost, though a vital con- 
sideration in so vast a procurement pro- 
gram, and the subject of constant concern, 
was secondary to speed and results. 
Somervell, while still chief of army con- 
struction, had expressed his philosophy on 
expenditures: he tried to save money 
wherever he could, but in war, speed and 
results were more important than cost. 
Spending might be saving in the long run. 
He told the Truman Committee investi- 
gating the defense program that it often 
took more courage to pay a high price 
than to pay a low price. With "parachute 
jumpers" and "bloodhounds," (as he 
dubbed the inspectors and auditors who 

2 These figures have been taken from Logistics in 
World War II, Final Report of the Army Service Forces, 
A Reporc to the Under Secretary of War and the 
Chief of Staff by the Director of the Service, Supply, 
and Procurement Division of the War Department 
General Staff, 1947 (Washington, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 1948), Chart 2, pp. 16-18. (Here- 
after cited as Logistics in World War II.) See also Pro- 
curement section of the volume, Statistics, now in 
preparation for the series UNITED STATES ARMY 

3 Ibid., pp. 25-27. 



turned up at the jobs), always ready to 
criticize extravagance, many men played 
it safe. 4 General Somervell looked for and 
found many ways to save money, but al- 
ways within the limits of military ur- 
gency. 5 

Because production experience with 
most military items was so limited, prices 
on initial orders were often little more 
than the best guess of the producer and 
the contracting officer. In time, the ASF 
acquired a body of cost data and obtained 
reductions in unit prices. And as output 
increased, it was possible to take advan- 
tage of mass production economies. Thus, 
in the year ending 30 June 1944, the aver- 
age price on guns, tanks, and ammunition 
declined 8 percent, the price for radio 
equipment more than 7 percent. 6 

Storage was another greatly expanded 
function of the ASF. At the time of its 
creation, the Army Service Forces oper- 
ated 55 depots; by the end of the war this 
number had risen to 127. These storage 
plants contained nearly 145,000,000 
square feet. At the beginning of 1942, 
depots shipped 1 ,000,000 tons per month; 
at the end of 1944, shipments rose to 
nearly 2,500,000 tons a month. Tonnages 
received ran somewhat higher. 7 

Some of the most impressive figures 
were in the field of transportation. Be- 
tween 1942 and 1945 the Army Service 
Forces transported 6.9 million soldiers 
overseas, as well as 250,000 navy person- 
nel, 1 10,000 civilians, plus 30,000 others. 
Of the total passengers carried, 4.6 million 
men went to Atlantic theaters and 2.7 mil- 
lion men went to the Pacific. From a half 
a million measurement tons of cargo 
shipped overseas in the first month of 
1942, the ASF attained a peak rate of 5.9 
million tons in one month in the early part 
of 1945. Whereas the Army had 154 ships 

in operation in January 1942, the ASF 
was operating 1,765 ships in December 
1944. 8 

Perhaps the smgie ASF undertaking 
dwarfing all others was the Manhattan 
District, which produced the atomic 
bomb. The Office of Scientific Research 
and Development (OSRD) requested the 
Army to take over the active operation of 
this project in June 1942. The Chief of 
Engineers officially established a special 
unit, the so-called Manhattan District, 
on 13 August of that year. The Army was 
asked to be the administrative agency for 
the project because it alone could obtain 
the funds and administer so large an un- 
dertaking and still preserve secrecy. The 
very size of the Army Service Forces itself 
is best indicated by the fact that it ab- 
sorbed a project which spent 2 billion dol- 
lars, built 2 large manufacturing plants, 
one of which housed 75,000 persons, and 
employed a peak of 80,000 individuals. 9 
Yet all of this was done without attracting 
undue attention and without arousing any 
strong suspicions that the Army was en- 
gaged in anything other than normal op- 
erations in support of the war effort. 

' Hearings before a Special Committee Investigating the 
National Defense Program, Senate, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, 
25 Apr 41, Pt. 1, p. 346. 

5 T. B. Worsley, Wartime Economic Stabilization and 
the Efficiency of Government Procurement (Washington, 
National Security Resources Board, 1949), Chs. 

6 Annual Report of the Army Service Forces, 1944 
(Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 

1945) , p. 1 19. (Hereafter cited as Annual Rpt of ASF, 

CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II (Wash- 
ington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946), pp. 

8 Ibid., pp. 35, 37. 

8 Annual Report of the Army Service Forces, 1945 
(Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 

1946) , pp. 15, 20. (Hereafter cited as Annual Rpt of 
ASF, 1945.) 



These achievements were attained in 
the face of great difficulties. In March 
1942, the major problem of the ASF was 
procurement. Production and more pro- 
duction was the overwhelmingly urgent 
need. As time went on, increasing atten- 
tion had to be given also to quality, as in 
the constant improvement of the tank, the 
development of the recoilless gun and 
variable time (proximity) fuze, and the 
many advances in electronics equipment. 

As the American production effort be- 
gan to turn out military supplies in over- 
whelming quantities, transportation be- 
came the great bottleneck. It remained a 
limiting factor in war operations until the 
surrender of the Japanese. 10 But even 
when the supplies arrived overseas, there 
was not always assurance that they would 
be properly handled and distributed. The 
ASF had technical responsibility for over- 
seas supply performance. But it was never 
very happy about either the organization 
which was developed to do the task or the 
character of the supply operations over- 
seas. 11 

In 1944 the most important shortage 
confronting the Army Service Forces was 
manpower. While raw material shortages 
had largely been overcome or brought 
into balance, there was no corresponding 
administrative system for directing the 
best use of the nation's manpower. Partly, 
industrial manpower shortages reflected 
the growing need for military personnel. 12 
Partly, they arose from lack of efficient 
methods of manpower control. Labor 
shortages were all the more vexatious be- 
cause the ASF itself could do little about 
the problem. Control of manpower was 
properly a civilian responsibility which 
had to be undertaken on a nationwide 
basis. The ASF managed to reduce its own 
personnel requirements by improving its 

operating efficiency; it encouraged indi- 
vidual contractors to avoid waste of labor; 
and it proposed production priorities to 
civilian agencies directing labor assign- 
ment. But there was no over-all program 
of control to insure effective civilian direc- 
tion of manpower. These problems be- 
came acute in the autumn of 1944 and the 
spring of 1945. 13 They were beyond the 
control of the Army; the ASF itself could 
resort only to palliatives. 

From the very outset, the ASF empha- 
sized the need for careful planning of pro- 
curement needs. When General Somer- 
vell was G-4, he had pushed the 
preparation of a complete and unified 
Army Supply Program. With the creation 
of the Army Service Forces, its staff took 
over active direction of this work. 

Procurement was inextricably linked 
with distribution. Military supplies pro- 
duced in America's industrial plants were 
useless unless delivered where and when 
demanded for military operations. No 
matter how ample the production, the en- 
tire effort was wasted unless the supplies 
could be delivered to their destination for 
use as intended. After 1942 the ASF had 
to give increasing attention to all phases 
of supply distribution. 

In the spring of 1944 the ASF instituted 
a new procedure which attempted to re- 
late procurement requirements to actual 
distribution experience. At the beginning 
of the war future needs could only be 
roughly estimated. By 1944 figures based 
on distribution experience made it pos- 
sible to compare estimates of requirements 

10 Annual RptofASF, 1945, p. 21. 

11 Logistics in World War II, pp. 158-59. 

12 Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, The Organization 
of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 207, 214, 412. 

13 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, pp. 205-07. 



with actual consumption. This brought 
into existence the supply control system 
which, by 30 June 1945, covered 1,887 
major items making up about 75 percent 
of the total dollar volume of all ASF pro- 
curement. 14 

In addition to other problems, wartime 
supply faced a difficulty in the time lag 
from requisition of an item to delivery at 
the point of use overseas. To be sure, this 
time factor varied from item to item. 
Studies made in early 1945 indicated that 
eighty-seven days were normally required 
from the receipt of a requisition at the 
New York Port of Embarkation until ar- 
rival overseas of ships bearing the neces- 
sary supplies. But such a time period 
assumed that the supplies needed were 
already available in storage in the United 
States. 15 At one time, the Army Service 
Forces set up a timetable to serve as an 
ideal for the supply aspects of overseas op- 
erations. As a minimum, it contemplated 
that six months would intervene between 
the final decision to undertake a large 
military operation and the delivery of the 
necessary supplies overseas. And of course 
the scale of operations had a further im- 
pact upon the timetable. The ASF found 
that it not only had to anticipate specific 
operations and their supply needs but also 
that it had to be prepared for almost any 
conceivable sudden demand. 16 

The commanding general of the ASF, 
his staff associates, and the heads of ASF 
operating units were not under the illu- 
sion that supplies alone were winning the 
war. Perhaps the proper place was in- 
dicated in a brief comment which General 
Somervell made to the Academy of Polit- 
ical Science in January 1943. In his pre- 
pared paper for that assembly he re- 
marked: "Good logistics alone cannot win 
a war. Bad logistics alone can lose it." 17 


An essential part of American military 
supply operations after April 1941 was to 
make available under lend-lease, war ma- 
teriel to the Allies fighting Germany, 
Italy, and Japan. Between the passage of 
the Lend-Lease Act and the end of the 
war, the War Department provided nearly 
fifteen billion dollars worth of equipment 
and supplies for other nations. Of this, the 
United Kingdom received about 56 per- 
cent, Russia 25 percent, France 10 per- 
cent, China 5 percent, and other nations 
the remainder. Included in these supplies 
were 26,000 medium tanks, nearly 800,- 
000 trucks (including 188,000 "jeeps"), 
and 3,400 locomotives. 18 

In lend-lease matters, the ASF was fun- 
damentally an operating organization. 
Policy was determined either on a high 
political level or by the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff. Nevertheless, the ASF did influ- 
ence policy through membership on vari- 
ous policy committees and through exer- 
cise of its operational responsibilities. First, 
the Office of Lend-Lease Administration 
(OLLA), and later, the Foreign Economic 
Administration (FEA), was the control 
agency for civilian type supplies, but for 
military lend-lease these offices served 

14 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, pp. 179-80. See also 
Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, Logis- 
tics of Global Warfare, 1941-1943, a volume in 
preparation for the series UNITED STATES ARMY 

15 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, pp. 179-80. 

16 Annual Report of the Army Service Forces, 1943 
(Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1944), p. 97. (Hereafter cited as Annual Rpt of ASF, 

17 Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, Jan- 
uary 1943, p. 61. 

18 These figures are based on the Lend-Lease sec- 
tion of the volume, Statistics, now in preparation for 



only an accounting purpose. After Pearl 
Harbor appropriations for military lend- 
lease supplies were made directly to the 
War Department. The ASF procured 
military supplies for the U.S. Army and 
for lend-lease in a single unified produc- 
tion program. 19 

American munitions production along 
with that of the British Empire theoreti- 
cally was placed in a "common pool" to 
be distributed according to strategic need. 
To decide the problem of strategic dis- 
tribution, two Munitions Assignments 
Boards, one in Washington and one in 
London, were set up as a part of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff machinery. The 
Washington Board, responsible for alloca- 
tion of American production, was com- 
posed of equal representation of the 
British and American Chiefs of Staff with 
Harry Hopkins, the President's alter ego, 
as chairman. The board was directly re- 
sponsible to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 
and made its decisions in accordance with 
strategic guidance received from them. 

Three subcommittees — Ground, Navy, 
and Air — prepared allocation for thou- 
sands of different items. Each of these sub- 
committees had one British representa- 
tive. The chairmanship and secretariat 
of the Ground Committee were vested in 
the International Division, ASF, and the 
spadework for all transfer schedules was 
largely done by members of that division. 
Although these schedules had to be ap- 
proved by the board, only when there was 
some disagreement in the Ground Com- 
mittee was this approval anything but 
automatic. Once transfers were approved, 
the ASF was responsible for moving the 
supplies to port. 20 

General Somervell constantly pressed 
for careful forecasting of the supply re- 
quirements of Allied nations in order to 

prevent undue interference of their de- 
mands with the process of equipping U.S. 
divisions. Lend-lease supply requirements 
were included in the Army Supply Pro- 
gram alongside those of the United States. 
General Somervell argued that the Muni- 
tions Assignments Board (MAB) should 
not allocate materials unless a procure- 
ment requirement, generally controlled 
by the ASF, had been presented for it. He 
felt that U.S. Army needs should get first 
consideration, and usually he won his 
point. 21 

Great Britain was the only full partner 
of the United States in the assignments 
machinery. These two major powers allo- 
cated supplies to the other Allies normally 
on a strategic, though sometimes on a 
diplomatic basis. The Russians received 
lend-lease aid according to a definite pro- 
tocol drawn up through diplomatic nego- 

Generally, the Anglo-American supply 
partnership functioned smoothly, but 
there were some conflicts. Actually, only 
the Americans had any real stock of sup- 
plies to distribute. The British contended 
that allocation from American production 
should be made to the British in one block 
for their Empire (except Canada), for the 
European refugee governments under 
their sponsorship, and for the small na- 
tions of the Middle East. General Somer- 

19 Message from the President of the United States Trans- 
mitting a Report on the First Tear of Lend-Lease Operations 
(March 1 1, 1942) (Washington, U. S. Government 
Printing Office, 1942), pp 36-38. 

20 Intn Div, ASF, Lend-Lease as of September 30, 
1945, MS, OCMH, I, 147-66; Robert E. Sherwood, 
Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York, 
Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 470-73. 

21 Memo, Somervell for Clay, 27 Jul 42, Hq ASF, 
LL File; Memo, Somervell for Burns, 15 Aug 42, sub: 
Relationship of WD to MAB and CPRB, Hq ASF, 
MAB File; Min #766, 64th Mtg, MAC (G), 7 
Dec 42. 



veil opposed this principle of "proteges," 
and the MAB eventually ruled against 
it. 22 

Somervell tried to keep British require- 
ments within reasonable limits, and to re- 
duce to a minimum emergency demands 
outside the Army Supply Program. He in- 
stituted a rigid review of British require- 
ments to prevent use of lend-lease supplies 
for postwar economic recovery, for non- 
essential civilian purposes, and for accu- 
mulating excessive reserves. When the 
Middle East ceased to be an active thea- 
ter, the use of British surplus there for 
civilian purposes became a serious issue. 
On one occasion, the Americans learned 
of large supplies of rubber tires stored in 
Egypt, and forced the British to restate 
their tire requirements. 23 In the Far East, 
where British and American political, eco- 
nomic, and military interests often di- 
verged, Somervell, over British protest, 
approved a procedure for review of British 
requirements by the U.S. theater head- 
quarters. 24 In the case of tanks, heavy 
trucks, and tractors, the United States 
was virtually the sole source of supply for 
the British. As a result, negotiations over 
requirement and assignment programs of 
these articles were always long and 
difficult. 25 

In practice, though it was never official- 
ly stated, the ASF and other U.S. staff 
agencies concerned evolved the "residual" 
theory to replace that of the "common 
pool." Simply stated, this principle as- 
sumed that each country had primary 
responsibility to produce all munitions re- 
quired for itself, and that each country 
had first call on its own productive 
capacity. 26 For obvious reasons, the British 
clung to the theory of the "common pool." 

Just as the British were dependent on 
supplies from the United States, the 

Americans sometimes were dependent on 
British shipping to transport their troops 
and supplies. Though there were usually 
no overt attempts to swap British shipping 
for American supplies, some of General 
Somervell's negotiations with the British 
were essentially horse trading. 

The British maintained a full military 
and civilian staff in Washington to look 
after their interests. General Somervell 
had his principal contacts with Sir Walter 
Venning, head of the military section of 
the British Supply Council in North 
America, and his assistant, Lt. Gen. 
George N. Macready. Sir Walter Venning 
was a pleasant gentleman with whom it 
was easy to get along, and Somervell be- 
came quite fond of him. General Mac- 
ready, on the other hand, while an able 
and intelligent officer, was difficult for 
Somervell to work with. He forcefully pre- 
sented the British position on every issue 
and stuck to it until compelled to retreat. 
General Somervell clung just as tena- 
ciously to the American position. Venning 
often smoothed matters over when tem- 
pers were ruffled. General Somervell came 
to the conclusion that Venning and Mac- 
ready made a happy combination. Mac- 
ready was the tough man who presented 
unacceptable demands; Sir Walter then 

22 Memo, Somervell for Burns, 5 Jul 43, sub: Muni- 
tions Assignments Procedure, Hq ASF, MAB File; 
MBW 67/8, 18 Nov 43, sub: Retransfer of Munitions 
under the Lend-Lease Act; Sherwood, Roosevelt and 
Hopkins, p. 473. 

21 See papers relative to this in G-4 File 400.3295, 
Feb-Mar 44. 

24 Ltrs, Somervell to Lt Gen George N. Macready, 
31 Aug 44, and Macready to Somervell, 2 Sep 44, 
Intn Div, ASF, Lend-Lease, Documentary Supple- 
ment, OGMH, Vol. VIII. 

25 Memo, Maj Gen Thomas T. Handy, OPD for 
ASW, 26 Feb 44, sub: Lend-Lease, OPD 400.3295, 
Sec. 3, Case 47; Min, MAC(G) & MAB, passim. 

26 Intn Div, ASF, Lend-Lease as of September 30, 
1945, MS, OCMH, I, 243. 



stepped in and agreed to a compromise. 
In the process, the British usually got as 
much as they originally expected. 

The Russian protocols were worked out 
on a yearly basis and constituted an iron- 
clad promise of delivery by the United 
States to Russia. With rare exceptions, the 
Munitions Assignments Board in making 
allocations conformed to protocol commit- 
ments. General Somervell was the War 
Department representative on the Presi- 
dent's Soviet Protocol Committee. This 
was an interdepartmental group under 
the chairmanship of Harry Hopkins, 
which advised the President on the offer- 
ings in the protocol and determined policy 
on carrying out commitments. The ASF 
commander and his staff worked to keep 
the offerings under the protocol within 
the limits imposed by shipping and other 
logistical considerations. Once accepted, 
the President himself exerted heavy pres- 
sure to see that commitments were ful- 
filled. In consequence the ASF staff had to 
give priority to meeting them, sometimes 
even at the expense of supply or transpor- 
tation for U.S. troops. One whole overseas 
command, that in the Persian Gulf, was 
devoted exclusively to the job of getting 
supplies to Russia. 27 

French rearmament became a major 
concern after the Casablanca Conference. 
It was more expedient to supply French 
troops already in the theater, assuming of 
course that they were experienced and re- 
liable, than it was to transport U.S. troops 
there. The size of the French forces to be 
rearmed was determined in a general way 
at Casablanca by the President's promises 
to General Giraud, later augmented by 
decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 
The ASF staff had little to do with these 
decisions. They were made largely on the 
advice of General Eisenhower in the thea- 

ter. Eisenhower also dictated priorities on 
shipping, for French rearmament was 
more frequently a problem of shipping 
than of the availability of supplies. In July 
1943 General Somervell did negotiate fur- 
ther understandings with General Giraud 
at a series of meetings in Washington, but 
these agreements for the most part re- 
flected requests which had already been 
submitted by General Eisenhower. 28 On 
the other hand, ASF responsibilities for 
delivery to French troops were consider- 
able, since supplies to the theater com- 
mander for the French were shipped with 
supplies for American forces. 29 

Despite the fact that Chinese lend-lease 
constituted only 5 percent of the total, it 
presented some of the most difficult of all 
logistical problems. Supplies for Chinese 
forces were limited to driblets because of 
the lack of transportation facilities. Inter- 
ested in seeing what could be done to 
remedy this situation, Somervell person- 
ally visited the area. He resisted Chinese 
pressure for more supplies than could be 
transported into China, and guided him- 
self by the advice of the American com- 
mander in the theater. 

There was never any particular diffi- 
culty in handling lend-lease in the South- 
west Pacific because of the harmonious 
relations between General MacArthur and 
the Australian Government. For a time, 

" Ibid., II, 1001-97; T. H. Vail Motter, The Persian 
Corridor and Aid to Russia, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, U.S. Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1952). 

28 Memo, Marshall for Gens Arnold, Somervell, 
McNarney. Handy, and Raymond G. Moses, 12 Jul 
43, w/incl memo from Giraud, Intn Div, ASF, File 
475, Equip of Troops, France, Vol. II. 

29 Marcel Vigneras, The Rearmament of the 
French Forces in World War II, a monograph in 
preparation for the series UNITED STATES ARMY 



shipments were made to General Mac- 
Arthur for division among the national 
forces under his command, but this system 
was abandoned by mutual agreement 
since the Australian Government had bet- 
ter facilities for receiving and distributing 
supplies. MacArthur retained the power 
to divert military supplies where necessary 
from one national force to another. 30 

Although the procurement of military 
supplies for lend-lease was entirely under 
Army control, except in limited instances, 
the War Shipping Administration (WSA) 
took over when the supplies arrived in 
port. Nevertheless, the ASF had to give 
careful attention to co-ordinating supplies 
with shipping. Otherwise, large backlogs 
might clog depots and ports. Also, supplies 
would be lying idle when they could be 
used for other purposes. The ASF advo- 
cated that after forty-five days, the U.S. 
Army should repossess supplies assigned 
to, but unshipped by, a foreign govern- 
ment. The Munitions Assignments Board 
modified the proposal by requiring that 
such material should be reported to it for 
assignment at its discretion. 31 Actual re- 
possessions were infrequent, but the pro- 
cedure checked additional assignments of 
material of which there was a backlog. 

The complicated international machin- 
ery for lend-lease worked with surprising 
smoothness. No doubt General Somer- 
vell's past association with Harry Hopkins 
and their friendship during the war years 
had much to do with this happy situation 
for, until ill health removed him from the 
scene, Hopkins was the real lend-lease 
policy maker. Lend-lease was a part of the 
supply strategy of World War II, and 
proved an admirable instrument of coali- 
tion warfare. In utilizing it, the Army 
Service Forces had the major operational 

The Relation Between Strategy and Supply 

It was inevitable that the ASF should 
show a special concern for the supply 
phases of military operations. What, pre- 
cisely, were these "supply phases?" 32 Ac- 
cording to the official definition of its 
mission, the ASF was to provide "services 
and supplies to meet military require- 
ments." Among the seventeen duties spe- 
cifically assigned to the ASF, there were 
only two references to supply. One was an 
omnibus statement covering research, de- 
velopment, procurement, storage, and 
distribution of supplies and equipment. 
The other was "transportation and traffic 
control." These terse phrases embraced an 
enormous complex of interrelated ac- 
tivities. 33 

30 Cable C-5 20, CINC SWPA to AGWAR, 18 Sep 
42, CM-IN-8399 (9-19-42), Intn Div Cables, Aus LL 
Procedure; Memo, Hq SOS for Chiefs Svs, 25 Sep 42, 
sub: Shipmt of LL Goods to Australia, SPLLA 020 
Shipping, ID .008, Shipmts, Vol. I. 

31 Ltr, Aurand to Chm British Supply Council, 12 
Jun 42, ID 319.1, Rpts-Storage, Vol. I; Min #462, 
34th Mtg, MAC(G), 15 Jun 42. 

32 WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42. 

33 The term "logistics" was used widely during the 
war and earlier by the Navy and in the high com- 
mand, i. e. in the WDGS and in the joint and com- 
bined committees. It appears somewhat less fre- 
quently in the records of the ASF. "Logistics" seems to 
have been a useful and meaningful word when used 
to refer, in general terms, to the various material and 
quantitative limitations considered in strategic plan- 
ning. But whenever it has become necessary to define 
in detail the specific factors covered by the term, dis- 
agreement has usually arisen. The official wartime 
dictionaries of the Army defined logistics in terms 
mainly of supply and transport, and field service 
regulations did not even recognize the term until after 
the war. Agencies concerned with supply, services, 
and transport often tended to identify logistics with 
their own range of activities — e. g., the Joint Logistics 
Committee, created in 1943, and the Logistics Divi- 
sion of the postwar War Department General Staff 
(at first named the Supply, Service, and Procure- 
ment Division). General Somervell in 1942 created 
on his own staff a Strategic Logistics Division which 
made long-range studies showing the impact of almost 
any kind of physical limitation upon strategy and op- 



All these functions were related, directly 
or indirectly, to the provision of military 
materiel for combat operations overseas. 
(For purposes of the present discussion, 
"services" are eliminated from considera- 
tion.) To provide this materiel and make 
it available to the troops overseas involved 
an unbroken chain of activity extending 
back to the design and development of in- 
dividual items of equipment and supplies. 
The close interrelation among all the links 
of this chain presented constant organiza- 
tional difficulties which had ramifications 
beyond the confines of the War Depart- 
ment. It constituted a continuing problem 
during the war — that of defining the rela- 
tionship of the ASF to the War Depart- 
ment General Staff and to overseas 
theaters. This problem will be examined 
in subsequent chapters. 34 Finally, the close 
connection between military procurement 
and control of all the nation's economic 
resources complicated the relations of the 
ASF and of the War Department, for which 

erations. By the end of the war Somervell's staff had 
become accustomed to think of logistics as embracing 
virtually all the activities of the ASF. The official 
report of the ASF, Logistics in World War II (p. vii), as- 
serted that the term referred to all activities not in- 
cluded in "strategy" and "tactics"; it is clear that the 
authors of the publication had in mind all those ma- 
terial factors which impose limitations upon strategy 
and tactics — e. g., procurement, storage, distribution 
of material; transport, construction, maintenance, 
communications, medical care, personnel administra- 
tion and services. "Logistics" — both the word and the 
thing itself — is obviously in a process of evolution un- 
der the influence of changing developments in the 
techniques, instruments, and organization of war. In 
recent U.S. Army and Joint Army-Navy- Air Forces 
official usage, as defined by the latest dictionaries, it is 
significant that the term is now given essentially the 
meaning contained in the ASF report mentioned 
above, i. e., as covering all military activities not in- 
cluded in strategy and tactics. In the present discus- 
sion, the term "supply" is used to refer to a more 
restricted field — the procurement, storage, distribu- 
tion, maintenance and transportation of military ma- 
teriel. "Logistics," when it is used, may be assumed 
to have substantially the same meaning. 

it was the agent, with the War Production 
Board as the principal civilian agency con- 
cerned with mobilization of the nation's 
economic resources. These relations will 
be treated in Part Three of the present 
volume. 35 

It was the vital relationship between 
procurement and the employment of mili- 
tary materiel which made the ASF so 
important a factor in the conduct of 
military operations. 36 It prevented the 
ASF from being simply an operating agent 
for executing War Department instruc- 
tions, and gave it instead a vital role in the 
determination of military strategy. 

Looking back at four years of supply 
operations of the most varied kinds, Som- 
ervell's planning officers attempted at the 
end of the war to analyze the influence of 
logistics on strategy. 37 They conceived the 
major elements to be four: 

1. "Practicabilities" (i. e., the supply of 
military materiel actually available in the 
United States during the time of any 
projected military operation). 

2. Shipping and other necessary trans- 
port capacity in the United States. 

3. Discharge and handling capacity of 
ports and beaches overseas, and the over- 
land transport capacity to the combat 

4. The enemy's ability to interfere with 
logistical preparations and support. 

It was the function of logistical planners, 
in so far as they could forecast these ele- 

34 See below, 

35 See below, 

Ch. VII. 

Chs. XII 


36 In a letter to Senator Claude Pepper in Decem- 
ber 1942, Somervell expounded at some length on 
the interrelationship between procurement and mili- 
tary operations. Ltr, Somervell to Pepper, 5 Dec 42, 
CG ASF files. This letter is discussed at length on pp. 


37 Logistics in World War II, pp. 32-34. 



ments and reduce them to quantitative 
terms, to determine the bottlenecks which 
stood in the way of projected military op- 
erations. Having done so, they then had 
to find means of removing these obstacles 
or, if this were not practicable, to lay down 
the alternatives open to the strategic and 
operational planners under irreducible 
physical limitations. On this basis, mili- 
tary objectives could then be redesigned 
to fit these limitations. This, in simple 
terms, was the pattern of "logistical plan- 
ning," as it was usually referred to, for 
military operations. It meant, in essence, 
determining in advance what could and 
could not be done to put in the hands of 
troops the military materiel they needed 
to accomplish stated ends. 

The process of actually providing the 
support estimated to be logistically possi- 
ble involved four general types of supply 
operations. In the first place, troops being 
trained in the United States had to be 
given training equipment, clothing, am- 
munition, and many other kinds of sup- 
plies. In the second place, as military units 
went overseas, last-minute efforts were 
necessary to insure that their equipment 
was complete and in workable condition. 
Third, once the troops were overseas, they 
constantly had to be supplied with fresh 
stocks of replacement equipment and all 
types of expendable items. Wear and tear, 
loss, and battle destruction ate continually 
into the supply of guns, tanks, communi- 
cation facilities, trucks, and other military 
equipment which troops had on hand. 
Without new stocks to replace these losses, 
the battle strength of overseas troops 
would steadily decline the longer they re- 
mained overseas. Supplies like ammuni- 
tion, gasoline, food, and even clothing had 
to be provided on a continuing basis, since 
these were expendable. By the beginning 

of 1944, more than half of all ASF pro- 
curement was designed to provide re- 
placement equipment and expendable 
supplies for troops already overseas. 38 In 
the fourth place, each major area of over- 
seas operations had its own special needs 
for supplies with which to maintain its 
military operations. It had to have port 
facilities for unloading supplies shipped 
from the United States. If these facilities 
were not available, or if they were inade- 
quate, port equipment of all kinds would 
have to be shipped from the United States. 
After supplies were unloaded, they had to 
be warehoused until required. Depots had 
to be constructed to handle the steady 
flow of material from the United States. 
As troops moved farther and farther for- 
ward, supply stocks also had to be moved 
up into intermediate and advance depots. 
This meant that trucks and sometimes 
railroad rolling stock had to be sent from 
the United States. Each overseas area re- 
quired communications facilities to ensure 
that commanders would have rapid and 
dependable contact with their subordi- 
nates. Swift intercommunication between 
all parts of a vast military organization 
was indispensable. Hospital facilities, troop 
accommodations, airfields, depots, and 
roads had to be built. This required the 
shipment of bulldozers, caterpillar trac- 
tors, lumber, steel, prefabricated hut- 
ments, portable bridges, cranes, graders, 
coal, asphalt, cement. Specially trained 
troop units also had to be sent to operate 
and use all this material. In certain areas, 
the Army had responsibility for supplying 
the basic needs of the civilian population: 
food, clothing, and fuel for utilities. 

These needs naturally varied from one 
area to another, and from one phase of 

38 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1944, p. 99. 



operations to the next. At one end of the 
scale was the European Theater of Opera- 
tions (ETO), with a troop population run- 
ning into millions, complicated rear area 
activities, and combat operations gigantic 
in scope and intensity. At the other end 
was a tiny garrison of an outpost like 
Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. 
Each presented special problems of supply. 
As the war progressed, the WDGS and the 
ASF worked out separate supply pro- 
cedures appropriate to the support of the 
various types of overseas theaters — those 
in the initial stage of operations; those in 
which American forces had become fairly 
well organized, particularly with respect 
to supply operations; and finally those 
which had become inactive after the 
attainment of major objectives. 

Of the four general types of supply 
operations, the first two — supplying troops 
training in the United States, and check- 
ing equipment of units going overseas — 
absorbed the main efforts of the ASF dur- 
ing the first two years of the war, while the 
Army was being deployed overseas. The 
fourth category — supplying major areas of 
overseas operations by constructing ade- 

quate port and other necessary facilities — 
became increasingly important as Ameri- 
can forces in the British Isles in 1 943 built 
a large base establishment launching the 
European invasion at the same time that 
large reserves were being assembled in the 
Pacific. From the middle of 1943 on, the 
third category — continuing supply of 
forces already overseas — steadily over- 
shadowed the job of equipping troops in 
the United States and in process of de- 
ployment. Finally, in the spring of 1945, 
the ASF plunged into the huge undertak- 
ing of redeploying troops and supplies from 
Europe to the Pacific for the assault upon 
Japan. Seriously complicating this task 
was the job of returning to the United 
States troops and enormous stocks of mu- 
nitions from all the areas where military 
operations had ceased. Starting as a thin 
trickle comparatively early in the war, 
this countermovement increasingly com- 
peted with the supply of overseas opera- 
tions until, with victory over Japan won in 
August 1945, it became the final supply 
job of the Army Service Forces in World 
War II. 


Strategy and Supply: Early 


The most important strategic decision of 
World War II was that which made Ger- 
many and the Axis in Europe, rather than 
Japan in the Pacific, the number one 
enemy. This decision was tentatively made 
prior to Pearl Harbor and it is evident that 
supply considerations were less important 
than other factors in the determination. 1 

The attack on Pearl Harbor and the 
repeated setbacks of the Allied powers in 
the Pacific severely jolted this tentative 
agreement between the United States and 
Great Britain. In addition to the problem 
of how to get at Germany, the United 
States now had to reckon with the diffi- 
culty of containing the Japanese. When 
the Army Service Forces came into exist- 
ence in March 1942, the War Department 
Was already at work on studies of strategy, 
utilizing the United Kingdom as a major 
base. President Roosevelt and Prime Min- 
ister Churchill soon endorsed this idea as a 
basis of combined planning. 

As the war progressed, the wisdom of 
the decision, from a logistic point of view, 
was shown again and again. General 
Eisenhower, as head of the War Plans 
Division, reported to General Marshall 
that "logistic reasons . . . substantiate the 
soundness of the decision to concentrate 
against the European Axis." 2 Great Brit- 
ain proved an ideal overseas base for the 

preparation of future military operations. 
True, it was separated at the narrowest 
point by a mere twenty miles of water 
from land dominated by the Germans. 
The ports and great cities of England were 
ever subject to the menace of air attack. 
On the other hand, the supremacy of the 
Royal Air Force over the Germans in the 
skies above Britain itself had already been 
demonstrated. The American Army, in 
building up its own military forces to par- 
ticipate in an offensive against the Axis, 
could look forward with some assurance to 
the use of the British ports, the British rail 
network, and the many other facilities of 

1 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 271-74, 415, 
519, 536-37; Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge 
Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 
Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 4 15; John J. McGloy, 
"The Great Military Decisions," Foreign Affairs, 
XXVI (October 1947), 52; Biennial Report of the Chief 
of Staff of the United States Army, July 1, 1943 to June30, 
1945, to the Secretary of War, p. 8; Maurice Matloff and 
Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition War- 
fare: 1941-1942, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 1953); Gordon A. Harrison, Cross- 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 1951). This strategic concept was set 
forth in the early Rainbow plans and in the so-called 
Victory Supply Program of 1 1 September 1941. See 
Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations. 

2 Memo, WPD for GofS, 28 Feb 42, sub: Strategic 
Conceptions and Their Application to the Southwest 
Pacific, Env 35, Exec 4. 



a highly industrialized nation. Then too, 
since the British Isles would have to be 
made secure in any case, the troops assem- 
bled there would serve a double purpose: 
they would be a defense force for the 
United Kingdom as well as an eventual 
offensive army for a cross-Channel inva- 

The fact that the trip across the Atlantic 
was so much shorter than that across the 
Pacific, and the fact that most of our port 
and rail facilities were located on the east 
coast added even more to the desirability 
of making Great Britain the major over- 
seas base for our military operations. It 
took only half as long in 1942 for a ship to 
carry a load of supplies from the Atlantic 
seaboard to a British port and return to 
the United States as it did to carry supplies 
from the Pacific coast to New Guinea or 
Australia. Furthermore, not only were our 
most highly developed ports on the Atlan- 
tic coast, but our industrial resources were 
concentrated in the northeastern part of 
the United States; and our own rail net- 
work was oriented to the movement of 
goods within this area. The bottlenecks on 
the transcontinental railways and the con- 
gestion of Pacific ports, particularly in the 
first half of 1945 when supply attention 
began to concentrate upon the Pacific, 
helped demonstrate the soundness of the 
original military plans. 

As already noted, by March 1942 the 
strategy of continental invasion from the 
British Isles was already taking shape. As 
approved in mid- April by the two govern- 
ments, this strategy envisaged both the 
assembly of ground forces for an eventual 
cross-Channel operation and the launch- 
ing of an aerial offensive from United 
Kingdom bases sometime in 1942. By 
contrast, the Pacific area, except for the 
Southwest Pacific, was a Navy "show," 

and the Navy, rather than the Army, ulti- 
mately assumed the basic responsibility. 3 

The Army Service Forces was a zone of 
interior command. Its commander had no 
direct authority overseas. Yet the basic aim 
of the ASF was the support of overseas 
operations. The final test of the supply sys- 
tem was in the theater of operations; the 
measure of ASF success was the effective- 
ness of its supplies and services in helping 
combat troops win battles. The need for 
close ties between the zone of interior and 
the overseas theaters therefore was obvi- 
ous. One of the means adopted to 
strengthen these ties was by sending key 
people on his staff to overseas areas, and 
on occasion General Somervell himself 
became a globetrotting trouble-shooter. 

As commanding general of a large and 
complex organization, Somervell neces- 
sarily personified the supply activities of 
the Army. He had to represent the com- 
mand as a whole to the Chief of Staff and 
to officials outside the War Department. 
He was the spokesman for his associates in 
stating what was logistically feasible and 
what was not. Within his command, Gen- 
eral Somervell had to give his personal 
attention to the major difficulties which 
arose. In both capacities, as representative 
of the Army Service Forces in its external 
relationships and as a final arbiter of mat- 
ters within the organization, he naturally 
depended on numerous associates for as- 
sistance and advice. To focus attention 
upon the commanding general's personal 
participation in the activities of overseas 

3 Marshall to Roosevelt, about 1 Apr 42, quoted 
Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 549-50. This 
point is also discussed in several volumes of the series 
G. A. Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack; Cline, Washing- 
ton Command Post; and Matloff and Snell, Strategic 
Planning for Coalition Warfare. See also Leighton and 
Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare, 1941-1943. 



supply, therefore, serves the useful purpose 
of simplifying a consideration of the more 
important problems which confronted the 


Support of Bolero (the build-up of 
troops and supplies in Great Britain for 
the cross-Channel operation) early be- 
came the most important single supply job 
of the ASF. To look into preparations for 
this operation, Somervell, accompanied by 
Lutes, his chief planner, made his first 
overseas inspection trip. He was primarily 
interested in the extent to which British 
port, rail, and storage facilities could be 
made available for the build-up of Ameri- 
can military strength. He also wanted 
firsthand information on the numerous 
organizational problems involved in set- 
ting up a new supply command in the 
United Kingdom and getting it under 

Somervell and Lutes returned to the 
United States with a greater awareness of 
the tremendous job facing the supply com- 
mand in England, and with the strength- 
ened conviction that not enough supply 
troops were being made available to Maj. 
Gen. John C. H. Lee, an Engineer officer 
who soon was to head the Services of Sup- 
ply in the United Kingdom. Somervell 
had first protested the inadequate number 
of supply troops in the Army troop plans 
while still G-4. At the time, no service 
troops had been included above the level 
of a field army. On the basis of his staff 
estimates, Somervell urged the addition of 
625,000 service troops in General Staff 
plans. Since the size of the Army for 1942 
had already been fixed by the President, 
General Marshall was reluctant to press 
for such a large increase. Here the matter 
rested until June 1942. Then Somervell 

and Lutes, impelled by their observations 
in England, pressed their case with re- 
newed conviction. The War Department 
General Staff authorized about one third 
of the ASF recommendation. The neces- 
sary training program was started at once, 
but the time was too short to provide the 
fully trained troops needed to mount and 
support the North African invasion of 
November. 4 

The problem of supply troops for over- 
seas military operations remained a per- 
plexing issue throughout World War II. 
The Army Ground Forces, naturally 
enough, pressed constantly for more com- 
bat troops and pointedly criticized the 
large number of men needed for rear area 
duties. The General Staff was inclined to 
agree with the Ground Forces. Yet if Army 
commanders and their troops were to have 
all the supplies they needed, someone had 
to discharge, sort, transport, and issue 
what they demanded. General Somervell 
was convinced that overseas commanders 
seldom had enough service troop units to 
do an efficient supply and distribution job. 
Events were to substantiate this conviction 
on numerous occasions. 5 

In the spring of 1942, Somervell also 
had to begin worrying about the transpor- 
tation capabilities of the United States. 
With the assistance of Maj. Gen. Charles 
P. Gross, his chief transportation adviser, 
Somervell went to work on the problem. 
Its solution involved many agencies. New 
ship construction was the province of the 
U.S. Maritime Commission; utilization of 
American ship resources was the responsi- 
bility of the War Shipping Administration; 
use of British vessels involved lengthy 
negotiation with British officials in Wash- 

4 Ltr, Lutes to author, 28 Mar 51. 

5 Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global War- 
tare, 1941-1943. 



ington and London; the protection of con- 
voys was the concern of both the Navy 
and the Air Forces. With responsibil- 
ity thus divided and out of his hands, 
Somervell could only argue vehemently 
for action and more action. This he seldom 
failed to do at any and every opportunity 
Frequently, shipping problems ended up 
with a White House conference where Mr. 
Harry Hopkins helped to adjust the basic 
differences. 6 

In late summer of 1942, Somervell sent 
General Lutes to the South and Southwest 
Pacific Areas with two purposes in mind. 
The first was to investigate a shipping jam 
which had developed in the harbor of 
Noumea, New Caledonia. This base was 
then supporting American operations on 
Guadalcanal and a build-up on Espiritu 
Santo. The second purpose was to inform 
General MacArthur in Australia of the 
secondary supply priority given his theater 
and to encourage him to undertake long- 
range planning of his supply needs. To 
MacArthur's fears of a Japanese invasion 
of the Australian east coast, Lutes re- 
sponded that he was certain the Japanese 
had overextended their supply facilities 
and were incapable of mounting an inva- 
sion. Although alarmed by what he felt 
was an undue lack of concern with his 
military position in the Southwest Pacific, 
MacArthur had no alternative but to plan 
to make the best possible use of whatever 
supply resources the ASF would be able to 

Somervell also had Lutes tackle another 
problem — that of closer co-operation be- 
tween the services in matters of supply. 
Lutes succeeded in getting a Joint Army- 
Navy Logistical Staff started under Ad- 
miral William E. Halsey. Also, Admiral 
Chester Nimitz, after discussing the desir- 
ability of such a staff with Lutes, requested 

Navy Department approval of a joint 
Army-Navy staff, with an Army officer in 
charge of logistics. The necessary authority 
was delayed nearly eight months. 7 

North Africa 

The planned orderly build-up of a mili- 
tary base in the British Isles for an assault 
on the Continent was interrupted by sev- 
eral developments. Submarines took a 
large toll of ships and supplies; the over-all 
lend-lease program involving the supply 
of Russia, China, and other Allies, con- 
sumed a large part of American produc- 
tion; and the support of American outposts 
became a serious matter. For example, as 
a result of the Japanese occupation of the 
western tip of the Aleutian Islands, defense 
of Alaska became urgent, and Somervell 
in August 1942 made a hasty trip to ob- 
serve progress of the Alaska Highway and 
to discuss the supply aspects of Alaska's 
defense. But by far the greatest diversion 
from the cross-Channel build-up came as 
a result of the invasion of North Africa 
(Operation Torch). 

The outline of the plan was drawn up at 
the end of July but the final pattern of a 
two-coast three-pronged invasion with one 
Atlantic and two Mediterranean task 
forces was not fixed until September. 8 The 
involved nature of the plan, and the short- 
ness of time for preparation placed a severe 
strain upon the Army Service Forces. 9 

s Chester Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: Re- 
sponsibilities, Organization, and Operations , UNITED 
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951). 

7 Ltr, cited in n. 4. 

8 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 611-12; 
George F. Howe, Operations in Northwest Africa, 
1942-1943, a volume in preparation for the series 

9 Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global War- 
fare, 1941-1943. 



Providing equipment for both the Western 
Task Force and the Mediterranean Task 
Forces was increasingly troublesome. An 
added burden in the already complicated 
supply preparations for North Africa at 
this time resulted from the fact that the 
American forces in England were unable 
to provide for their requirements from 
quantities already delivered or being de- 
livered to the European Theater of Opera- 
tions. Most of what was needed was 
unquestionably on hand, but so scattered 
among various newly set-up depots that 
its actual location was unknown. There 
were not enough service troops on hand to 
go through all the equipment, find the 
necessary items, and deliver them to com- 
bat troops within the available time 

On 8 September 1942 the ASF was 
given a long list of essential equipment 
required by the assault forces sailing for 
North Africa from the United Kingdom. 10 
A total of 1 3 1 ,000 ship tons of cargo was 
delivered at United Kingdom ports be- 
tween 16 and 25 October to be placed on 
the assault convoys. Another eight fully 
loaded cargo ships were sent from the 
United States to join the convoys as they 
left England for the Mediterranean. 11 All 
this meant extra shifts in American plants, 
express railway shipments on American 
railways, and special handling in ports — 
thus adding to the cost, and waste, of war. 

Further complications arose when the 
Navy indicated that it could not provide 
escorts for all the convoys which were in- 
tended to move the initial assault forces. 
On 27 September 1942, the ASF informed 
the commanding general of the ETO that 
he would have to make a choice: reduce 
the size of the Western Task Force from 
167,000 men to 100,000 men and provide 
the full equipment and reserve supplies for 

the entire force, or land the original num- 
ber of men with only about 50 percent of 
their equipment. The second alternative 
was selected; the chief consequence was a 
substantial cut in the number of trucks 
moved with the landing troops. 12 

Still another problem of the operation 
was the responsibility placed upon the 
ASF to supply, load, and move the so- 
called Western Task Force — the assault 
force which was to land at Casablanca and 
other sites on the Atlantic coast of North 
Africa. Hampton Roads was selected as 
the embarkation port loading point. The 
combat troops had to be equipped almost 
completely since such training items as 
they had were largely worn out. This was 
the Army's first experience in large-scale 
"combat loading" — the loading of men 
and supplies so that both could be dis- 
charged in the order in which they would 
be needed once the assault began. Maj. 
Gen. George S. Patton's staff had to be 
initiated in the mysteries of code marking 
for outloading, and the delay in complet- 
ing assault plans prevented a full-scale 
rehearsal of loading and disembarking. 
And at the same time the loading of men 
and supplies had to be done in the greatest 
secrecy. But it was done, and the troops 
made their landings on 8 November. 13 

During the preparations for loading the 
Western Task Force, General Somervell 
invited General Patton to observe a dem- 

10 Cable 1949, London to AGWAR, 8 Sep 42, 
Folder Torch, Tab Rads, Lutes File. 

11 Logistics in World War II, p. 37. 

12 Memo, Lutes for Maj Gen Mark W. Clark, 28 
Sep 42, sub: Maint of U.S. Troops in Center and 
Eastern Task Forces, ASF Plan Div #18, Shipping, 
Vol. I, A46-371, Drawer 10. 

13 For a graphic description of the work of the ASF 
in this operation, see Don Wharton, "How the North 
African Campaign was Organized," Reader's Digest, 
XLII (February 1943), 95. 



onstration of the latest ordnance equip- 
ment, including the new "bazooka." 
Patton was so much impressed by the 
defensive possibilities of the weapon in the 
hands of infantry troops that he immedi- 
ately asked for a large number to be 
provided his task force. 

In fact, General Patton was pleased 
with the whole North African supply 
effort. "The Services of Supply," he wrote 
to Somervell, "performed magnificently. 
. . . Without your help this operation 
could never have started, nor could it have 
operated successfully upon its arrival 
here." 14 

Operations in Europe, 1943 

The first overseas conference of the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff with the Presi- 
dent and Prime Minister was held at 
Casablanca in January 1943. The Presi- 
dent insisted on a small American delega- 
tion. It included General Marshall; Gen- 
eral Arnold of the AAF, a member of the 
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS); three 
officers from the Operations Division 
(OPD) of the War Department General 
Staff; and General Somervell as supply 
adviser. Though Somervell lacked a staff 
to assist him with the logistical problems 
which occupied an important place on the 
conference agenda, he fortunately was 
able to press into service two of his former 
supply officers then serving on General 
Eisenhower's staff. 

At the conference the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff again decided to defer a cross- 
Channel attack. The American represent- 
atives reluctantly yielded to the British 
and substituted for a genuine "second 
front" the invasion of Sicily, to take place 
at the conclusion of the pending Tunisian 
campaign. The preparations for the opera- 

tion, as well as for the Battle of Tunisia, 
were left in the hand of the theater com- 
mander. 15 

The most important logistical problem 
at Casablanca was that of shipping losses 
due to German submarine and air action. 
The ability to support the North African 
theater and to continue the preparation 
for an invasion of the European Continent 
now depended more than ever upon the 
success of antisubmarine measures. Even 
though new vessels were being constructed 
with unprecedented speed, continued loss 
at the existing rate would cripple the en- 
tire overseas effort. Here was a problem 
over which supply officers had no control. 
General Somervell could only point to the 
seriousness of the situation and urge re- 
newed efforts by both the Navy and the 
Air Forces to reduce, if not eliminate, the 
submarine menace. Somervell found his 
chief support on antisubmarine measures 
among the British. 

Another important problem was that of 
equipping French units for participation 
in future African and European opera- 
tions. General Somervell was asked how 
much materiel could be made available to 
the French, and a program for equipping 
eleven French divisions was agreed upon 
as a general objective. Because of the ship- 
ping shortage and political and manpower 
uncertainties, this project was given a low 
priority. 16 

At Casablanca the Combined Chiefs of 

14 Patton to Somervell, 22 Nov 42, Hq ASF, North 
African Theater. 

15 Cline, Washington Command Post, Ch. XII, pp. 

16 Min, 58th Mtg, CCS, 6 Jan 43, Official Casa- 
blanca Conference Book; James D. T. Hamilton, 
Southern France- Alsace, a volume in preparation for 
WAR II; Vigneras, The Rearmament of French 



Staff also began to consider which of sev- 
eral possible Allied operations in the 
Mediterranean area should follow the 
occupation of Sicily. An operation in 
Greece could have been supported as long 
as the objectives were strictly limited. 
Army Service Forces planners pointed out, 
however, that only in southern France 
would the port capacities and the inland 
lines of communication permit the build- 
up of a large force for a decisive campaign 
against the Germans. At the same time 
they warned that as long as the eventual 
major cross-Channel operation for which 
Bolero was preparing remained the pri- 
mary operation against Germany, any 
other campaign must necessarily interfere 
with its accomplishment. With supply fac- 
tors in mind Somervell recommended that 
all available resources after the occupation 
of Sicily be devoted to preparation for the 
cross- Channel invasion, with southern 
France as the only subsidiary operation. 
Against the advisability of an Italian cam- 
paign, the ASF presented the argument 
that Italy could not be self-supporting in 
supplies at any time under an Allied occu- 
pation. Large-scale shipments of coal, 
food, clothing, and medical supplies would 
be required for the civilian population. 17 
All of these arguments illustrated the 
bearing,of logistical factors upon the deter- 
mination of strategic objectives. Somervell 
did not propose that supply considerations 
alone should govern wartime strategy; he 
did ask that the strategic planners give full 
and realistic consideration to the logistical 
factors in deciding on possible campaigns. 
It was not easy to reconcile political objec- 
tives with the military objective of engag- 
ing the enemy on terrain where his forces 
could be successfully overcome with the 
least cost. Somervell constantly pressed for 
military objectives where supply superi- 

ority could be effectively realized. 

Despite such counsel, the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, with the approval of the 
President and Prime Minister, decided 
that an invasion of Italy should follow 
quickly upon the conclusion of the Sicilian 
operation. 18 

The Post- Casablanca Trip 

Immediately after the Casablanca Con- 
ference, General Somervell inspected vari- 
ous ports and installations in North Africa 
and the Near East. While thus engaged, 
he learned a dramatic lesson on the im- 
portance of personal contact in determin- 
ing the most urgent overseas supply re- 
quirements. In Algiers on 25 January, he 
reported to General Eisenhower at his 
headquarters at the Hotel St. George. 19 At 
a meeting that afternoon, with Generals 
Marshall and Eisenhower attending, Som- 
ervell was informed that the greatest single 
supply obstacle in the forthcoming Tunis- 
ian campaign was the absence of adequate 
transportation in North Africa. There was 
an urgent need for both truck and rail 
equipment. The shortage had in part 
arisen from the fact that General Eisen- 
hower's forces had not yet received all the 
trucks left behind in November. In addi- 
tion, the Algerian railways were in a poor 
state of repair and were inefficiently op- 
erated. Although knowledge of this situa- 
tion had been conveyed to them in general 

" CCS 172, 22 Jan 43, sub: Shipping Capabilities 
for Bolero Build-up, Official Casablanca Conference 

18 CCS 242/6, 25 May 43, sub: Final Report to the 
President and Prime Minister, Official Trident 
Conference Book. 

19 Log, Somervell's Party, 24-29 Jan 43, Hq ASF, 
Casablanca Conf, 1943 (Jan-Feb); Min of conf at 
Hotel St. George, 25 Jan 43, Hq ASF, North African 



terms, few people in the War Department 
had realized its seriousness. 20 

General Somervell at once began to see 
what could be done to improve the situa- 
tion. It developed that if some 5,000 addi- 
tional 2 1 / / 2-ton trucks, 100 locomotive 
engines, and other rolling stock for the 
railways could be immediately provided, 
preparations for the Tunisian campaign 
would be greatly accelerated. Somervell 
assured General Eisenhower that these 
items could be shipped from the United 
States if the Navy would provide the nec- 
essary protection for the cargo ships. At 
Somervell's suggestion, Eisenhower asked 
Admiral Ernest J. King, who had not yet 
departed from North Africa, for Navy pro- 
tection. Admiral King promised the neces- 
sary convoy assistance, whereupon General 
Somervell sent a direct radio message on 
26 January to his own chief of staff in 
Washington to arrange for immediate 
shipment of trucks and railway equip- 
ment. Within two and a half weeks, a spe- 
cial convoy of 2 1 ships carrying over 
200,000 measurement tons of material was 
on its way to North Africa. The difficulties 
involved in making such emergency ship- 
ments prompted General Styer to con- 
clude his response to Somervell's message 
with the words: "We will not let you 
down. However, if you want the Pentagon 
Building shipped, please allow more 
time."' 21 

From Algiers, General Somervell went 
to Cairo. 22 After the great British victory 
at El Alamein the preceding October, this 
area was no longer close to the fighting 
front. The American supply operation 
here, undertaken in the summer of 1942 
to assist the British, was now largely com- 
pleted. Aside from the need of continued 
support of the Air Forces still located in 
Egypt, the problem now rather was one of 

cleaning out American supplies and 
service troops. 

General Somervell went on to visit the 
Persian Gulf Service Command, which 
had begun large-scale unloading of sup- 
plies for the Russians in December 1942. 
In that desolate area of seasonal torrential 
rains, high humidities, and summer tem- 
peratures which reached 125 degrees in 
the shade, there was still much to do to 
prevent the supply lines to the Soviet from 
choking up. Any one of more than a dozen 
factors could (and some temporarily did) 
cause supplies to back up at various sta- 
tions all the way from Soviet receiving 
points to the original ports of shipment in 
North America. A partial list of potential 
bottlenecks included inadequacy in any of 
the following: ship's gear, dockside equip- 
ment such as cranes and fork lifts, berthing 
space, labor supply, sorting sheds, dock 
storage space, trucks, barges, lighters, rail- 
road track and equipment, and highway 
facilities. General Somervell inspected 
many key points in the area and spoke to 
a number of people in an effort to learn at 
firsthand as much as possible about this 
complicated situation. 23 

General Somervell found even more 
difficult problems in the China-Burma- 
India theater. Upon arriving at Karachi, 
he received an urgent message to go at 

20 Joseph Bykofsky and Harold Larson, The Trans- 
portation Corps: Activities in the Oversea Commands, 
III, a volume in preparation for the series UNITED 

" Msgs, 26, 29 Jan 43, Hq ASF. See also Dwight D. 
Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New York, Doubleday 
& Company, Inc., 1948), pp. 148-49. 

22 Memo for Somervell's Party, 27 Jan 43, Hq ASF, 
Middle East Theater. 

23 Motter, The Persian Corridor and Aid to Russia, Ch. 
XVIII; Bykofsky and Larson, Activities in the Over- 
sea Commands; Ltr, Maj Gen Donald H. Connoly to 
Somervell, 1 Dec 42, OCT, HB. See also 29-31 Jan 
43, Hq ASF, T of Opns, Persian Gulf (12), 1942-43. 



once to Delhi to join General Arnold and 
Field Marshal Sir John Dill, both of whom 
bore messages for Field Marshal Sir Archi- 
bald P. Wavell and Chiang Kai-shek 
about the decisions of the Casablanca 
Conference. Arnold and Dill had flown to 
Chungking to get the Generalissimo's con- 
sent for an operation in Burma during the 
1943-44 dry season. Somervell was told 
that increased operations by the Air 
Forces, accelerated road building, and the 
provisioning of the Chinese troops who 
would participate in the campaign to open 
a land route to China — all depended on 
an enlarged movement of supplies from 
Calcutta to Assam. Somervell began to in- 
vestigate the transportation situation at 
once. He learned that while port facilities 
at Calcutta were adequate, the Bengal- As- 
sam railway could not support the pro- 
jected needs. He decided that with efficient 
management, the Assam line of communi- 
cations could carry a far greater tonnage 
than it was then doing. Later, on his re- 
turn to the United States, Somervell 
urged, among other specific improve- 
ments, U.S. Army operation of the 
heavily-congested meter-gauge portion of 
the Bengal- Assam railway, the inaugura- 
tion of an American barge line on the 
Brahmaputra River, and the construction 
of pipelines from Calcutta to Assam. 24 

While in India, General Somervell also 
visited Assam and rode with Field Mar- 
shal Wavell to inspect the construction of 
the Ledo Road in northeast Assam. He 
then traveled south to Imphal on the 
Indo-Burmese border and witnessed the 
launching of a unique type of warfare. 
The initial success of this experiment in 
operating behind the Japanese lines on air 
supply, under the leadership of the man 
who conceived it, Maj. Gen. O. Charles 
Wingate of the British Army, helped as- 

sure Somervell that the Ledo Road could 
be completed and protected from the 
Japanese and that land communication 
could be reopened with China. 25 

Back in the United States, after a trip of 
32,000 miles, he called together his prin- 
cipal staff officers to give them instructions 
based on the information he had acquired 
abroad. Two lengthy memoranda, dic- 
tated on 22 February 1943, reveal the 
problems which loomed large in the mind 
of the ASF at this time. One memoran- 
dum was directed to General Lutes, the 
supply planner of the ASF, and the other 
to Maj. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the staff 
head for all procurement operations. 

In his memorandum to General Lutes, 
Somervell made a number of observations 
and recommendations on several matters. 
He expressed the opinion that the Persian 
Gulf Service Command should be sepa- 
rated from the Middle East Command, 
and that the latter's mission should be re- 
defined in the light of changed circum- 
stances. Since there was some possibility 
that if Turkey entered the war in 1943, 
Allied forces would be moved into the 
northeast to support that government, 
General Somervell wished to obtain infor- 
mation from the Operations Division of 
the WDGS about intentions in the Near 
East. He suggested that American service 
troops should be used to support American 
combat units and should not be given a 

24 Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, The 
China-Burma-India Theater: Stilwell's Mission to China, 
(Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
1953); Bykofsky and Larson, Activities in the Over- 
sea Commands; COS Com, India Comd, USB/7, 9, 
15, 19, 24, and Decisions USB/22, History of CBI, 
Sec. 3, Ch. VII, Arnold-Somervell-Dill Mission, OPD 
314.7; Somervell to CofS, sub: Bengal-Assam 

" Log, Somervell's Party, 2-6 Feb 43, Hq ASF, 
Casablanca Conf, 1943 (Jan-Feb). 



general assignment of helping the British 
Middle East Command. He asked for a 
study and recommendation on this sub- 
ject. Somervell also mentioned that it 
might be possible to use the Levant ports 
for forwarding supplies to Russia and he 
asked that the ASF planners explore this 
possibility. He called attention to the fact 
that the supply officer of the Middle East 
Command was forming an engineer regi- 
ment from contractors' personnel in the 
area and from such American citizens as 
he could find in Palestine. This would 
mean necessary replacements and supplies 
from time to time. 

As a result of his observations in Algiers, 
General Somervell expressed the belief 
that it was "essential that we have a fool- 
proof method of keeping in touch with de- 
velopments in North Africa and those con- 
nected with Husky." The ammunition sit- 
uation for Husky, the Sicilian invasion, 
was of particular concern: "As long as we 
insist on reports from Eisenhower rather 
than his bases," Somervell wrote, "we 
should be able to meet requirements." He 
had discussed the possibility of a "proper 
G-4" report with General Eisenhower and 
asked what had or should be done on this 
score. He added that reports alone would 
not do the job and proposed that there 
should be one visit a month by ASF per- 
sonnel to the North African theater. 
Somervell then took up the complaints 
made to him about the arrival of troops 
without individual and organizational 
equipment. He asked that General Lutes 
and the Chief of Transportation, General 
Gross, iron this out. 

Somervell's next concern, as expressed 
in the memorandum, was to make certain 
that equipment required for Husky 
should be sent to North Africa as far in ad- 
vance of the actual movement of troops as 

possible. He asked General Lutes to obtain 
troop requirements for the operation at 
once from the OPD of the WDGS, to cal- 
culate the equipment required in ton- 
nages, and to arrange a schedule of move- 
ment with the Chief of Transportation. He 
did not want it to be said later that a sup- 
ply breakdown had interfered with the 
operation. Somervell also directed that the 
automatic supply system for North Africa 
be checked and that any imbalances in 
particular items be rectified. 

General Somervell listed three needs of 
the Persian Gulf Service Command: food 
rations for native laborers; accountants to 
record the receipt of goods consigned to 
the Russians; and Military Police (MP) 
battalions for traffic control and reduction 
of pilferage. Not only native laborers, but 
some of the soldiers of the American port 
battalions as well, were stealing supplies. 
While the British reluctantly accepted pil- 
ferage up to 5 percent of total supplies 
landed and forwarded, Somervell pointed 
out that such a rate meant the loss of one 
ship out of every twenty. "This is higher 
than our losses from the German subma- 
rines and cannot be tolerated." It seemed 
ridiculous to ship goods at great sacrifice 
15,000 miles and then have them stolen. 
Somervell asked Lutes to arrange to ship 
additional MP personnel to the Persian 
Gulf. While some increase in strength was 
forthcoming, the Persian Gulf Service 
Command was never satisfied with its MP 
allotment, and pilferage remained to the 
end an unsolved problem. 

Among other items in his memorandum 
to General Lutes, Somervell mentioned 
special rations for flight crews and urged 
that the. experimental work in this field be 
expedited. There was particular need for 
smaller cans of fruit juices in hot climates. 
He also noted that the Air Forces needed 



additional landing mats in India and 
asked that these be supplied. 26 

In his memorandum to General Clay, 
Somervell made a number of observations 
about lend-lease. He insisted that there 
must be "no confusion" about the han- 
dling of supplies for the French troops in 
North Africa. The shipments should be 
made promptly and be clearly indicated 
for French use. Pointing out that he had 
been told in North Africa that the ques- 
tion of importing coal was still unsettled, 
he instructed General Clay to make sure 
that it was clearly understood that all coal 
would be provided by the British. Supplies 
for the Russians should be consigned di- 
rectly to the commanding general of the 
Persian Gulf Service Command, rather 
than to the British, in order to prevent any 
delay in delivering supplies to the Rus- 
sians. Lend-lease supplies consigned to the 
British for distribution to a third party 
might be diverted to the British Army, al- 
though the British had promised to inform 
the United States of any diversions. 
Somervell also pointed out that he had 
seen large numbers of trucks still standing 
on the docks at Calcutta. This led him to 
order that no supplies should be shipped 
overseas that were not immediately 

Somervell observed that Brig. Gen. 
Raymond A. Wheeler, handling supply 
operations for General Joseph W. Stilwell 
in China- Burma-India, did not have a 
general purchasing agent and directed 
that the officer who had just installed the 
purchasing system in Australia should 
now be sent to India. The purchasing sys- 
tem in North Africa should also be 
checked. Somervell recommended that 
the officer assigned to handle the ship- 
ment of Russian lend-lease supplies should 
keep well informed about available routes, 

shipping schedules, stocks of supplies in 
the United States, and all other aspects of 
the operation. He also noted that Amer- 
ican lend-lease representatives abroad 
seemed to be less well informed than the 
British about shipments of lend-lease sup- 
plies and requested that this situation be 
rectified. 27 

The TRIDENT Conference 

In May 1943 the Trident Conference 
of the Combined Chiefs of Staff was held 
in Washington. The decision with regard 
to the cross-Channel invasion was re- 
affirmed with a target date of spring 1944, 
and the command in the Mediterranean 
was directed to keep seven divisions avail- 
able for transfer to the British Isles. In ad- 
dition, the cargo shipping requirements 
for the build-up were discussed and tenta- 
tive schedules drawn up. For General 
Somervell, however, the most important 
problem of the conference was future mili- 
tary operations in China, Burma, and 
India. The Army Air Forces, at the urging 
of Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, desired 
to step up air operations in China against 
Japanese forces. But any such effort meant 
more supplies from Calcutta to Assam and 
over the Hump. At the same time, Somer- 
vell, in accord with General Stilwell, was 
convinced that expanded air operations, 
with or without corresponding ground op- 
erations, would be possible only if land 
communication with China was restored. 
He believed that construction of the Ledo 
Road should be pushed more vigorously, 

26 Memo, Somervell for Lutes, 22 Feb 43, Hq ASF; 
Motter, The Persian Corridor and Aid to Russia, Ch. IV; 
Rpt of MP Activities, Persian Gulf Comd, U.S. Army, 
Persian Gulf File 130, p. 62. 

" Memo, Somervell for Clay, 22 Feb 43, Hq ASF; 
Bykofsky and Larson, Activities in the Oversea 



which meant that it would be necessary to 
clean the Japanese out of this part of 
Burma. The chief of the Imperial General 
Staff of the British Government insisted 
that no campaigns could be fought during 
the monsoon periods. Relying on his ob- 
servations, Somervell expressed doubt 
about this opinion. The discussion was in- 
conclusive. However, later experience was 
to demonstrate that the monsoon was no 
insuperable hindrance to determined mili- 
tary operations. 28 

In the meantime the ASF was giving 
current attention to the supply support of 
the forthcoming invasions of Sicily and 
Italy. After the Battle of Tunisia, the 
North African theater found itself unable 
to equip all the troops to be used in the 
Sicilian invasion. As a result, one of the 
major units, the 45th Infantry Division, 
reinforced, was combat-loaded in the 
United States and transported directly, 
with a short stop along the Algerian coast, 
to the point of attack on Sicily. In addi- 
tion, the ASF had to provide all replace- 
ment equipment and expendable supplies 
for Husky directly from the United States. 
Even before the operation began, the ASF 
started to ship the supplies which it cal- 
culated would be needed to support the 
troops in Sicily. The spectacular progress 
of this invasion without major loss of 
equipment left large excess stocks of ma- 
teriel on hand, both in North Africa and 
Sicily. The ASF exerted unremitting pres- 
sure in the months following to have these 
residual supplies sorted out, repaired 
where needed, and reissued for later mili- 
tary campaigns in the Mediterranean. 29 

As the time for the invasion of Italy 
grew nearer, the Army Service Forces was 
once again called upon to ship supplies di- 
rectly to the Salerno beachhead and later 
to Naples for the support of military oper- 

ations. It was easier to find the supplies in 
the United States and ship them directly 
to Italy than it was to find the same sup- 
plies in Sicily or North Africa and move 
them across the Mediterranean. 

Both manpower and supply limitations 
prevented the concentration of a decisive 
force on the Italian peninsula, even had 
the terrain permitted military operations 
on a large scale. In the meantime, heavy 
shipments continued to be necessary in 
preparation for the cross-Channel oper- 
ation which had not been abandoned. 
There were still minimum supply needs to 
be met in the Pacific. By the spring of 
1944, some troops had to be removed from 
the Mediteranean theater in preparation 
for the cross-Channel operation. 

The Build-up for OVERLORD 

Bolero had envisaged the massing of 
over a million troops in Great Britain by 
the spring of 1943. ASF logistical planners 
from the outset were doubtful whether so 
large a force, with all its necessary supplies, 
could be transported and discharged in 
such a short period of time. British ports 
did not have sufficient reserve capacity to 
handle a sudden influx of large propor- 
tion, and the British manpower situation 
was too tight to permit any large diversion 
of labor to construct depots and camps in 
a two or three months period. Moreover, 
there was some British and American 
shipping capacity which would be under- 
utilized during the summer and autumn 
of 1942 if Bolero were concentrated in 
the early months of 1943. 

28 Papers & Min, Mtgs 84-90, 93-96, CCS, May 
43, Official Trident Conference Book; Romanus and 
Sunderland, Stilwell's Mission to China. 

29 Memo, Col Carter B. Magruder to Lutes, 15 Oct 
43, Lutes File. 



Accordingly, ASF planners suggested 
that at least the supply build-up should 
proceed steadily throughout 1942, thus 
avoiding the prospect of so large a ship- 
ping peak in 1943. The major drawback 
to this plan was the inadequate number 
and poor training of American service 
troops in Britain who were to care for sup- 
plies shipped well in advance of their ac- 
tual need. 30 The ASF pressed its plan 
nonetheless, although it was behind sched- 
ule by August 1942 when the North 
African campaign intervened. But it was 
not long before the build-up for the cross- 
Channel operation had to be suspended 
temporarily while supply attention was 
focused on the new theater. 

In the spring of 1943 the Bolero pro- 
gram was revived, looking to a European 
invasion in 1944. The ASF suggested once 
more that the port capacity of the United 
Kingdom might be utilized more effi- 
ciently by the shipment of military ma- 
terial in advance of troops. The situation 
in brief was this: the combat troops to be 
provided by the United States for the 
cross-Channel invasion, because of their 
training schedules, could not be moved 
from the United States until late in 1943 
and early in 1944. Up to this time it had 
been customary to move troop units and 
their equipment at approximately the 
same time from the United States to an 
overseas base. If this practice were con- 
tinued throughout 1943 and early 1944, 
the port capacity of the United Kingdom 
would not be fully utilized during most of 
the summer and autumn of 1943; after 
that time the pressure of discharging men 
and supplies in the United Kingdom 
would create unmanageable congestion. 
Accordingly, the ASF wanted to begin to 
ship supplies to England in advance of 
troops. The commanding general of Amer- 

ican forces in England at this time, Lt. 
Gen. Frank W. Andrews, seconded this 
recommendation, observing that under 
existing arrangements, equipment was ar- 
riving as much as 80 to 100 days after the 
troops for whom intended. 

The War Department General Staff 
gave approval in principle to the "preship- 
ment" recommendations of the ASF in 
March 1943. Detailed plans and proce- 
dures were drawn up in May. Of the total 
supplies shipped to the United Kingdom 
between January 1943 and September 
1944, about 26 percent represented ma- 
terial thus shipped in advance of troops. 
In the month of November 1943 alone, 54 
percent of the cargo unloaded in the 
United Kingdom was equipment for 
troops scheduled for later arrival. 31 

The Early Campaigns in the Pacific 

The Japanese march southward in the 
Pacific was not halted until the summer of 
1942 when, after the naval victories of the 
Coral Sea and Midway, Allied forces were 
able to undertake limited offensives 
against the Japanese in the lower Solomon 
Islands and New Guinea. These critical 
and bitterly contested campaigns came to 
a successful conclusion in the early 
months of 1943 when the Japanese ad- 
vance was stopped. Thereafter, one by 
one, different operations in the Central 
Pacific, the South Pacific, and the South- 
west Pacific began to drive the Japanese 
steadily back toward their home lands. 32 
30 See above, | p. 597| 

" For a more detailed account of this program, see 
Richard M. Leighton, "Preparation for Invasion," 
Military Affairs, X (Spring 1946), p. 3. For General 
Somervell's views see Memo, Somervell to Handy, 10 
Jul 43, sub: Preshipmt, Hq ASF, ACofS OPD, 

32 Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition 



The supply problems of the Pacific were 
tremendous. The whole area was depend- 
ent on shipping not only for delivery of 
supplies from the United States but also 
for their distribution within the three 
Pacific theaters. Since there was an acute 
shortage of shipping, with first priority 
given to operations in North Africa and 
Europe, a relatively small amount of cargo 
lift was available to the Pacific. Even these 
ships could not be used effectively in the 
South and Southwest Pacific because of 
the almost complete absence of adequate 
base and ports facilities, and because the 
average turnaround time that had to be 
allowed for shipments to these two theaters 
was half again as long as that for Euro- 
pean cargo movements. The lack of stor- 
age facilities at terminal points in the 
Pacific contributed to serious port conges- 
tion at a number of key bases. 33 

During the summer of 1942 the ASF 
began long-range planning for the support 
of the Pacific campaigns. Equipment for 
amphibious warfare and operations in dif- 
ficult jungle terrain had to be produced 
and delivered in great quantities. Special 
methods of packaging had to be devised to 
protect supplies from the effects of the 
tropical climate. Warehousing, harbor, 
and other equipment for the establishment 
of bases at key forward points, had to be 
assembled and shipped. The need for an 
extensive communications network cover- 
ing thousands of miles had to be met. 
Above all, logistical plans had to be care- 
fully co-ordinated with the Navy and a 
program of joint supply to the Pacific 
theaters developed. 34 

The build-up of supplies in the Pacific 
continued slowly, while preparations were 
being made for a new kind of strategy. The 
occupation of key points, the construction 

of airfields for defense and eventual 
assault, the build-up of port facilities for 
later operations to seize other key points, 
domination of the seas, and steady ad- 
vance toward the Philippines and to Japan 
itself, where the enemy might be decisively 
engaged — these became the key elements 
of Pacific strategy. Supply support was 
crucial to these efforts. In the last half of 
1943, the offensive in the Pacific began to 
get under way. The ASF worked continu- 
ally with the Navy in the preparation of 
arrangements for logistical support. 

The QUADRANT Conference 

In August 1943 the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff met once more, this time in Quebec. 
The most important single supply issue 
discussed was the division of shipping re- 
sources between the Atlantic and Pacific 
theaters. The British were eager to obtain 
more tanks in North Africa for use in the 
forthcoming invasion of Italy. Since 
United States Army and Navy officials 
usually agreed among themselves before 
such a conference on the allocation of ship- 
ping for the two theaters, there was little 
disposition to accede to British requests. 

At the conference General Somervell 

33 (1) Detailed accounts of supply problems in the 
Pacific are given in the following theater histories: 
History of the United States Army Forces in the South 
Pacific Area during World War II, 30 Mar 42-1 Aug 
44, MS, OCMH; History of United States Army Serv- 
ices of Supply and United States Army Forces West- 
ern Pacific, MS, OCMH; History of United States 
Army Forces Middle Pacific and Predecessor Com- 
mands during World War II, 7 Dec 41-2 Sep 45, MS, 
OCMH. (2) ASF Man M-409, Logistic Data for Staff 
Planners, 1 Jul 44. (3) Bykofsky and Larson, Activities 
in the Oversea Commands. (4) James R. Masterson, 
U.S. Army Transportation in the Southwest Pacific 
Area, 1941-1947 (Monograph), OCT, HB. 

34 History of Planning Division, ASF, OCMH, Vol. 
I, Pt. 3. 



pushed his recommendation for American 
operation of the Bengal- Assam railway. At 
the same time, the two governments de- 
cided to enlarge the airlift of supplies 
across the Hump as well as to hasten the 
construction of the Ledo Road. Somervell 
had sent General Styer to the area in July 
1943, and Styer's report on Ledo Road 
progress strengthened Somervell's disposi- 
tion to push construction of the overland 
route to China. 35 

Along with Gen. Sir Thomas Riddell- 
Webster, his counterpart in the British 
War Office, Somervell submitted to the 
Quadrant Conference a joint memoran- 
dum on supply routes in northeast India. 
This paper emphasized the urgent need 
for opening an overland route to China at 
the earliest possible date. The Assam line 
of communications as then set up was ex- 
pected to haul no more than 102,000 tons 
a month, including petroleum products by 
1 November 1943. This quantity would be 
sufficient only to provide minimum main- 
tenance of essential ground and air forces 
in the area and about 10,000 tons a month 
for delivery to China. An additional 1 18,- 
000 tons a month could be realized when 
the overland route was opened. Accord- 
ingly, the memorandum recommended 
that the Combined Chiefs of Staff approve 
in principle the use of a ground supply 
route to China from Assam through 
Burma and that a directive be issued with 
the target dates as set forth in the memo- 
randum for increasing the capacity of the 
Assam line of communications. The mem- 
orandum said further that the United 
States Joint Chiefs of Staff had agreed to 
provide the special personnel, equipment, 
and supplies to construct and operate the 
road from Ledo to Kunming, and also, to 
make available the personnel to achieve 

the increased tonnage for the Assam line 
of communications. 36 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff referred 
the question of rehabilitation of occupied 
and liberated territories to an ad hoc com- 
mittee made up of General Riddell- Web- 
ster, General Somervell, and Rear Adm. 
O. C. Badger. The committee's problem 
was to determine the basic policy with re- 
gard to such territories, and to agree on a 
division of responsibility between the 
United Kingdom and the United States in 
providing supplies for initial phases of re- 
lief and rehabilitation of reoccupied coun- 
tries. The committee's report recognized 
that minimum economic relief would be 
necessary during the period of military op- 
erations and for some time thereafter until 
civilian administration could be restored. 
The paper also pointed out that since the 
War Department used military priorities 
for securing civilian supplies, it was neces- 
sary that this procurement be limited to 
basic food, medical supplies, fuel, and 
other items essential for the preservation of 
civilian well-being during military opera- 
tions. It was not the Army's task to provide 
a more generous standard of assistance or 
to promote rehabilitation. 37 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff accepted 
the recommendations of Somervell and 
Riddell- Webster. But the increased supply 
operations of the Assam line of communi- 
cations depended upon steps taken in 
India, and some of the recommendations, 
such as American Army operation of part 

35 Styer, Notes on Ledo Road . . . Based on In- 
spection by Maj Gen Styer, 2-3 Jul 43, Hq ASF, Ledo 

36 Memo, Somervell for JCS, 19 Aug 43, w/incl 
Memo, Somervell and Riddell-Webster for CCS, Hq 

37 Memo for CCS, 22 Aug 43, Hq ASF. 



of the Bengal-Assam railroad, had to have 
the prior approval of the Indian Govern- 
ment. Somervell planned to go personally 
to India in an effort to speed up the supply 
program approved at Quebec. 

When the Quadrant Conference of the 

Combined Chiefs of Staff came to an end, 
Allied forces were ready to increase the 
tempo of military operations all over the 
world. American production was now pro- 
viding the means on an increasingly large 


Strategy and Supply: Final 


As soon as the Quadrant Conference 
was concluded, General Somervell and a 
number of his staff officers departed on an 
extended trip to the Pacific theater, re- 
turning to the United States by way of 
India and the Mediterranean. He was 
eager for an on-the-spot survey of condi- 
tions in the Pacific, and for another look 
at how things were progressing in some of 
the theaters that he had visited earlier in 
the year. Both General Marshall and Ad- 
miral King sent letters to Army and Navy 
commanders in the Pacific informing them 
of General Somervell's trip and requesting 
full assistance to the party in its effort to 
obtain information on supply problems. 

Somervell took with him General Clay, 
ASF director of materiel, General Gross, 
Chief of Transportation, General C. F. 
Robinson, director of the Control Divi- 
sion, and two of General Lutes' principal 
assistants. At the last minute Maj. Gen. 
Oliver P. Echols, the director of materiel 
for the Army Air Forces, and two of his as- 
sistants were included in the party. Care- 
ful preparations were made for the trip. 
Each technical service was asked to sub- 
mit questions about matters on which it 
would like to be informed. On the basis of 
their responses and known problems, a de- 
tailed questionnaire was prepared before 
the group left the United States, and each 

member of the party was assigned certain 
questions to which he was to secure 
answers. 1 

The group left Washington on 7 Sep- 
tember 1943, on a trip that was to cover 
42,188 miles in 231 hours of flying time. 2 
As on General Somervell's earlier trip in 
1943, a list of immediate supply needs un- 
covered during the course of the inspec- 
tion was radioed to the United States for 
prompt action. In informal letters to Gen- 
eral Marshall, written from various points 
throughout the journey, Somervell com- 
mented in a general way on some of the 
more serious conditions that he had come 
across. In letters to the ASF chief of staff, 
General Styer, he added more detailed 

The first stop was Hawaii, where he met 
Under Secretary of War Patterson, who, 
with General Lutes, was on his way back 
to Washington after a visit to the Pacific 
theaters. 3 Here Somervell was primarily 

1 Questionnaire, Pers of Trip, 6 Sep 43; Rad, 
Marshall to Lt Gen Robert C. Richardson, Jr., Lt 
Gen Millard F. Harmon, Gen Douglas MacArthur, 
6 Sep 43. Both in Hq ASF, Trips, Somervell-Round 
the World Trip, 1 943. 

2 WD press release, 25 Sep 43; Memo, Col Paul E. 
Ruestow for Somervell, 4 Nov 43, sub: Around the 
World Flights. Both in Hq ASF, Trips, Somervell- 
Round the World Trip, 1943. 

3 Rad, Somervell to Patterson, 7 Sep 43, Hq ASF, 
Trips, Somervell-Round the World Trip, 1943. 



interested in learning about the progress 
of joint Army-Navy supply planning for 
offensive operations. At the moment, the 
Central Pacific theater was moving from 
defensive into offensive operations. The at- 
tack on the Gilbert Islands was projected 
for November. The change in mission 
meant new supply demands for which the 
ASF must be fully prepared. This joint 
Army-Navy supply planning staff had 
finally been approved and an Army offi- 
cer placed in charge — Maj. Gen. Ed- 
mond H. Leavey, who had been recom- 
mended for Admiral Nimitz' staff by Som- 
ervell. General Leavey's task was to plan 
joint Army-Navy supply operations in the 
Central Pacific. There was a good deal of 
disagreement about how this should be 
done. The eventual solution worked out 
was that there should be a formal agree- 
ment in advance of each operation, speci- 
fying just what supply and service activi- 
ties would be provided individually by the 
Army and the Navy for the use of both. 
Somervell spent a good deal of time con- 
ferring with the Army commander, Gen- 
eral Richardson, on joint supply as well 
as other problems. 

From Hawaii General Somervell and 
his party traveled to the South Pacific the- 
ater, then commanded by Admiral Hal- 
sey. At this time the campaign in the 
Solomons was moving toward an end. In 
July landings had been made at New 
Georgia. Munda airfield had been cap- 
tured on 5 August. The immediate prob- 
lem for the theater was one of consolidat- 
ing positions and preparing for advances 
toward the North in conjunction with the 
Central Pacific theater. 

From Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 
27 September, Somervell wrote General 
Marshall in detail about his observations. 
He mentioned that he had talked with all 

of the division commanders in the South 
Pacific. He expressed his belief that the 
Army people had done an impressive job 
in spite of being low on the supply priority 
list. His only criticism was a feeling that 
they had not been sufficiently aggressive 
in making demands upon the resources of 
the War Department. General Somervell 
expressed concern that nonessential con- 
struction was being undertaken at many 
rear bases. He felt that forward bases 
should be selected in advance and that 
construction in all rear areas should be 
limited to essential requirements. He also 
urged that service units be moved in 
closely upon the heels of the combat troops 
and that rear areas be cleaned out as soon 
as they no longer were needed to support 
immediate and projected combat areas. 
Indeed, the problem of "mopping up the 
rear" became a continuing concern of 
General Somervell's from this time on. 
Many supplies were being unnecessarily 
stock-piled and wasted in rear areas, and 
service troops were needlessly spending 
much energy on the care of supplies for 
which there no longer was a need in the 
area. This situation had arisen because 
those responsible for logistical planning in 
the Pacific areas believed the local build- 
up of supply was necessary for the conduct 
of military operations. Somervell and his 
staff persuaded them that such operations 
could more efficiently be supported by di- 
rect shipment from west coast ports in the 
United States. 

Much of Somervell's letter to General 
Marshall dealt with the problem of rota- 
tion of troops and the incidence of ma- 
laria. Better sanitation discipline had 
improved the situation, but General Som- 
ervell nonetheless urged the War Depart- 
ment to review the problem of rotation 
and to formulate some policy on it before 



the spring of 1944. The remainder of the 
letter dealt with lack of enough service 
troops in the South Pacific. Combat troops 
were being extensively used to unload sup- 
plies and to perform other service duties. 
General Somervell stated that division 
commanders were properly concerned 
about the need for additional medical, 
engineer, quartermaster, and transporta- 
tion units. He recommended that the the- 
ater commander be given authority to 
form provisional service units or to break 
up and reassign existing service units. "It 
should be realized, in connection with the 
need for service troops in this area, that 
the Army is really fighting two battles: 
one against the enemy and the other 
against the jungle." The islands of the 
South Pacific lacked roads, water supply, 
and docks. The Japanese had made no 
particular effort to remedy these short- 
comings, while the Americans were mold- 
ing the jungle to their own type of 
operation, an undertaking which was a 
major factor in American success. 4 

From the Solomons and the Central 
Pacific theater, General Somervell and his 
party moved to the Southwest Pacific. The 
fighting here was on New Guinea, with 
Allied troops based on Australia. Just be- 
fore his arrival, Lae had been captured 
and the attack upon Finschhafen launched 
by the U.S. Army, while Australian troops 
had succeeded in an overland advance 
upon Salamaua. Preparations were going 
forward for a series of "leap frog" opera- 
tions along the New Guinea coast in prep- 
aration for the attack on the Philippines 
nearly a year later. Here, too, com- 
manders, with an insufficient number of 
service troops for the job, were struggling 
both to build bases for future operations 
and to move supplies forward for current 

In Australia Somervell had a long talk 
with General MacArthur. The general 
wished to have a more definite idea regard- 
ing what supply resources he could expect 
in the next year to support his advance to- 
ward the Philippines. Somervell did his 
best to provide at least some satisfaction on 
this score. 

From Australia, General Somervell and 
his party flew across the Indian Ocean to 
Ceylon and then to New Delhi to confer 
with Admiral Mountbatten, who had 
been appointed Supreme Commander of 
the South-East Asia theater at the Quebec 
Conference. Lord Mountbatten requested 
that General Wheeler, who had been sup- 
ply commander under General Stilwell, 
should now be made his deputy. This was 
done and General Somervell had to 
recommend a new American supply 
commander. 5 

In India Somervell had two definite 
tasks to accomplish; both were major rea- 
sons for his overseas trip at this time. The 
first was to impress upon the supply or- 
ganization in India the importance of the 
Quebec decisions to increase the flow of 
supplies into Burma and India. The sec- 
ond was to press personally his offer to the 
Indian Government of American troops to 
operate the Assam railroad, an offer which 
the Indian Government seemed hesitant 
to accept. Lord Mountbatten's interven- 
tion helped to persuade the government to 
turn the railroad over to American opera- 
tion. Somervell also endeavored to en- 
courage all commanders along the Assam 
line of communications to new efforts, 
from the unloading zone in Calcutta to 

4 Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 27 Sep 43, Hq 

5 Rad, TIGARGW-877 to AGWAR, 10 Oct 43, 
Hq ASF, Wires, Somervell-Round the World Trip, 



the advanced depots in Assam. Both the 
pipeline construction and the operation of 
the barge line on the Brahmaputra also 
needed additional pushing. At the same 
time, Somervell acquired further firsthand 
acquaintance with some of the problems 
of Army operations in India: problems 
which he identified as difficult terrain, 
limited transportation facilities, an Indian 
bureaucracy which feared change and 
blocked efficiency, a clash of strong per- 
sonalities, and a record of vacillation 
which he suspected was unequaled in any 
other theater of operations. 

In New Delhi General Somervell also 
encountered an unexpected problem, one 
scarcely within the scope of his responsi- 
bility. 6 T. V. Soong, then Chinese Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, informed Somervell 
that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek 
would have nothing more to do with Gen- 
eral Stilwell and would demand his relief 
when Somervell arrived in Chungking. 
The news upset Somervell very much. 
Lord Mountbatten was likewise greatly 
disturbed by this information. Having 
just assumed command in Southeast 
Asia, Mountbatten was reluctant to have 
so drastic a change. On the other hand, he 
feared that if he became a partisan of Stil- 
well, he would bring down the wrath of 
the Generalissimo upon himself and jeop- 
ardize the position of his command. Also, 
if the Generalissimo's attitude remained 
one of unalloyed hostility to General Stil- 
well, he expressed himself as believing it 
would be better to have a change imme- 
diately rather than in the middle of pro- 
jected military operations. General 
Somervell immediately sent a radio mes- 
sage, through British channels (the only 
ones available), informing General Mar- 
shall about the situation. 

General Somervell arrived in Chung- 

king on the afternoon of 15 October. He 
immediately arranged to see Generalis- 
simo Chiang Kai-shek the following 
morning. Officially, General Somervell 
was no more than an American Army of- 
ficer visiting the Chinese wartime capital 
to inquire into supply matters for ap- 
proved Burma operations. He had come 
with no letters of introduction from either 
the President of the United States or the 
Chief of Staff. Yet General Somervell was 
regarded as something more than a mere 
military messenger or investigator. And he 
himself never doubted that, confronted 
with top command bickering, he should 
do all he possibly could while on the scene 
to adjust the difficulties. General Somer- 
vell was not the kind of person to plead 
either nonjurisdiction or embarrassment. 

On the morning of 16 October, Somer- 
vell paid a courtesy call on the Generalis- 
simo during which he was informed that 
Stilwell was no longer persona grata to him. 
General Somervell could do no more than 
express astonishment and concern and ask 
to confer with the Generalissimo at greater 
length later. Upon his return to his quar- 
ters, Somervell got in touch with General 
Stilwell and informed him about what 
had taken place. He told Stilwell that he 
planned to request Generalissimo Chiang 
Kai-shek to reconsider his demand the 
following day and asked for arguments 
with which to arm himself. In addition, 
General Somervell found unexpected sup- 
port from within the Chinese military 

6 This account of the episode which follows is based, 
in addition to Somervell's own personal recollections, 
upon a lengthy personal letter from Somervell to Gen- 
eral Marshall, 24 Oct 43, Hq ASF, CofS, 1943. The 
essential outlines of the episode were contained in a 
radio, Somervell to Marshall, 24 Oct 43, Hq ASF, 
Wires, Somervell-Round the World Trip, 1943. Both 
messages were transmitted from New Delhi after 
Somervell had returned from Chungking. 



itself. Both the War Minister and the offi- 
cer who had been present at Somervell's 
conference with the Generalissimo ex- 
pressed their disagreement with Chiang 
Kai-shek's action and promised that they 
would attempt to talk with him. 

The next day Somervell officially re- 
quested Chiang Kai-shek to reconsider his 
demand for General Stil well's relief. He 
pointed out the unfortunate effect which 
such action would have on American pub- 
lic opinion. He emphasized America's 
determination to continue to help the 
Chinese, but at the same time, implied 
that Chinese-American differences might 
result in a reconsideration of American 
policy. He stressed the importance of 
forthcoming operations intended to open 
a new land route to China and hinted that 
General Stilwell's departure might delay 
the re-establishment of land communica- 
tion. He added that there was no senior of- 
ficer in the American Army with the 
personal background, the command of the 
Chinese language, and the other qualifi- 
cations which General Stilwell possessed 
for his present assignment. Somervell left 
with at least the promise that the Gen- 
eralissimo would reconsider the matter. At 
noon this same day and far into the after- 
noon, the Generalissimo conferred with 
Lord Mountbatten, who had arrived to 
discuss his new command. 

In the meantime, Madame Chiang 
Kai-shek sent for General Stilwell and ar- 
ranged for the Generalissimo to see him. 
That evening the Chinese War Minister, 
General Ho Ying-chin, gave a party for 
Lord Mountbatten. In the middle of the 
evening General Ho departed for a con- 
ference with Chiang Kai-shek. When he 
returned, he told Somervell that the Gen- 
eralissimo would reverse his position at 
another interview which he would grant 

the following day. Somervell then sought 
out General Stilwell and told him what he 
had just learned. Stilwell himself had just 
returned from seeing Chiang Kai-shek. 
He reported that the Generalissimo had 
asked him if he had any complaint to 
make about Chinese pledges and perform- 
ances. To this General Stilwell had replied 
in the negative, going on to say that he 
himself had probably made a great many 
mistakes and that, if he had, they were not 
intentional but were the result of the fact 
that he did not fully understand Chinese 
psychology. This had apparently mollified 
the Chinese leader. 

The next day, Chiang Kai-shek in- 
formed Somervell that General Stilwell 
had fully satisfied him about his objec- 
tions. These objections appeared to Som- 
ervell to consist primarily of alleged petty 
slights to the Chinese and charges of arro- 
gance. From his conversation, Somervell 
understood the Generalissimo to desire 
certain conditions which Stilwell should 
observe, but these were left for future ad- 
justment. For the time being the con- 
troversy about General Stilwell's position 
was settled. 7 

Part of the hostility to Stilwell seemed 
to arise from inside the Chinese official 
family. Indeed it was General Somervell's 
distinct impression that T. V. Soong him- 
self had done much to stir up difficulty 
and had probably urged Chiang Kai-shek 
to demand Stilwell's relief. On the other 
hand, Stilwell was frequently less than 
diplomatic in his expression of opinion 
about Chinese officials. But Somervell felt 
that General Stilwell had by no means ex- 
hausted his usefulness in China. More 

7 For an account of these developments from the 
point of view of the China- Burma-India Theater of 
Operations, see Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell's 
Mission to China . 



than this, Somervell received a radio mes- 
sage from General Styer, while in Chung- 
king, which suggested that if Stilwell were 
relieved, he, Somervell, would be ap- 
pointed to take his place. He was ordered 
not to leave the area until he heard from 
General Marshall. 8 Though Somervell 
had twice asked General Marshall for an 
overseas command, he had no desire to re- 
lieve Stilwell. The mere prospect of such 
a change gave him an added incentive to 
arrange an amicable settlement which 
would keep Stilwell in his position. The 
result of his efforts was that the climax to 
irreconcilable conflict between Chiang 
Kai-shek and General Stilwell was post- 
poned until a year later, when Stilwell was 
finally recalled. 

While Somervell's mediation of the 
Stilwell-Chiang Kai-shek controversy had 
little to do with supply problems directly, 
this episode was to have far-reaching 
repercussions for the Army Service Forces. 
Somervell had displayed again his char- 
acteristic initiative and drive in handling 
a difficult situation. The controversy had 
been settled much to General Marshall's 
satisfaction. At the very time when certain 
newspapers were attacking Somervell be- 
cause of his plans for internal reorganiza- 
tion of the ASF, he himself succeeded in 
handling a delicate mission with finesse 
and without the benefit of instructions 
from above. There is reason to believe that 
the episode made a very favorable impres- 
sion upon General Marshall, just as it had 
on Secretary Stimson, and that from this 
time on Somervell's position in Marshall's 
estimation was secure. 9 This meant too 
that the Army Service Forces was to en- 
dure throughout World War II, no matter 
what hostile criticism might gather 
around it. 

A minor problem which confronted 

General Somervell in Chungking was dis- 
agreement about the boundaries of the 
Southeast Asia Command. Lord Mount- 
batten wished to include Thailand and 
Indochina in the area of his military op- 
erations. Chiang Kai-shek was opposed, 
saying in part that if such action was taken 
it would be interpreted throughout Asia as 
a reassertion of British imperialism. In 
joint discussions, Chiang Kai-shek, Lord 
Mountbatten, and Somervell found a 
satisfactory solution. For the time being, 
no change would be made in the bound- 
aries of the China theater of which the 
Generalissimo was supreme commander. 
When Lord Mountbatten was ready for 
active operations in the area, the bound- 
ary lines would be adjusted. 10 

While in China, Somervell received a 
radio message from General Marshall 
stating that President Roosevelt was dis- 
turbed by the inefficiency of the airlift 
operation over the Hump. Evidently, part 
of the trouble lay in the morale of the per- 
sonnel. 11 Somervell explored the situation 
as carefully as he could under the pressure 
of time and discussed it with Maj. Gen. 
George E. Stratemeyer and General 
Wheeler. He reported to Marshall that 
the causes of inefficiency were weather 
conditions, lack of runways, the distrust 

8 Rad, AG WAR to TIGAR, 18 Oct 43; AGWAR 
to TIGAR, 22 Oct 43. Both in Hq ASF, Wires, Som- 
ervell-Round the World Trip, 1943. 

8 Stimson's impression was that Somervell was the 
only wartime emissary to Chungking whose work had 
been "truly helpful." Stimson and Bundy, On Active 
Service in Peace and War, p. 536. 

10 Memo, Somervell to Dill, 3 Nov 43; Rad, Som- 
ervell to Marshall, 2 1 Oct 43. Both in Hq ASF, Wires, 
Somervell-Round the World Trip, 1943. 

11 This was not surprising to the crew of Somer- 
vell's plane, who found the living quarters at the base 
"miserable." The floor of their tent was a "mud hole," 
the food was terrible, and recreational facilities were 
nearly nonexistent. 



felt by the men for the untried C-46 
planes, lack of spare parts, poor organiza- 
tion, inexperienced personnel, and bad 
management. As a result of a shakeup in 
officer personnel, accompanied by recom- 
mendations for demotions, and through 
the introduction of various measures to 
improve conditions and morale, a marked 
increase in tonnages carried was soon to 
take place. 12 

From India, Somervell flew on to the 
Persian Gulf Service Command. There 
had been unfavorable reports about this 
command — drunkenness among the 
troops, poor discipline as compared with 
the Russians, an unhealthy attitude of 
men toward their officers, and other dis- 
couraging information. Somervell on per- 
sonal inspection found conditions more 
satisfactory than these reports indicated. 
American operation of the Iranian rail- 
road to Tehran was proceeding well and 
road travel had been greatly improved. 
New port facilities were largely installed 
and the command was pushing supplies in 
steadily increasing volume up the Persian 
Corridor for delivery to the Russians. 
Somervell was particularly pleased with 
the high tonnages moved and with the 
excellent relations with the Russians. Very 
shortly after his return to the United 
States, he passed on to Marshall a scrib- 
bled note from the American Ambassador 
to the USSR, W. Averell Harriman, com- 
mending the "great job in getting on a 
frank and friendly basis with Russians in 
Iran." 13 

The Cairo and Tehran Conferences 

In November 1943 the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff met in Cairo for their fifth 
conference since Pearl Harbor. A confer- 
ence so soon after the August meeting in 

Quebec was unexpected and produced 
some suspicions among Americans that 
the cross-Channel invasion was once more 
to be questioned by the British. "The lo- 
gistic problem was whether we could 
retain Overlord in all its integrity and, 
at the same time, keep the Mediterranean 
ablaze." 14 But the build-up in England 
was now well under way, and the discus- 
sions at Cairo once more affirmed Over- 

The conference was interrupted by a 
trip to Tehran where President Roose- 
velt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Mar- 
shal Stalin came together for the first time. 
At Tehran, General Marshall asked for a 
plan for an attack on the south of France. 
Somervell had such a combined strategic 
and logistics plan with him, one prepared 
by his own supply planners, along with 
plans for other hypothetical operations. 
Generals Marshall and Handy used Som- 
ervell's plan in the discussions with both 
the British and the Russians. 

The strategy decided upon was to 
launch Overlord in May 1944, in con- 
junction with a supporting operation in 
the south of France on the largest scale 
permitted by the landing craft available 
at that time. Projected operations in 
Southeast Asia were accordingly reduced 

12 Rad, Marshall to Somervell, 17 Oct 43; Rad, 
Somervell to Marshall, 20 Oct +3; Rad, Somervell to 
Marshall, 23 Oct 43; Rad, Col Frederick C. Kelly to 
CG Air Transport Comd, 6 Nov 43, sub: Narrative 
Rpt. All in Hq ASF, Wires, Somervell-Round the 
World Trip, 1943. 

13 Rad, Kelly to CG Air Transport Comd, 6 Nov 
43; Memo, Somervell to CG Persian Gulf Service 
Comd, 29 Jul 43, sub: Rpt of Dr. Elgin Groseclose on 
Certain Activities of the Persian Gulf Comd; Ltr, 
Somervell to Connolly, 30 Oct 43; Handwritten note, 
Harriman to Somervell, probably Nov 43. All in Hq 
ASF, T of Opns, Persian Gulf Comd, 1942-44 (13). 

14 Roosevelt at Cairo Conf; Min, 2d Plenary Sess, 
Eureka Conf [Tehran], 29 Nov 43, Official Sextant 
Conference Book. 



in scope. Marshal Stalin's insistence on a 
second front, coupled with the hope that 
Russia would go to war against Japan 
once Germany was defeated, were decisive 
factors in the formulation of this plan. 15 
From Tehran, the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff returned to Cairo to resume their 
own meeting. 

As far as Somervell was concerned, the 
high spot of the Cairo-Tehran Confer- 
ences was the decision to launch an inva- 
sion of southern France timed to coincide 
with Overlord. Somervell had pressed for 
such a commitment because he was con- 
vinced of its strategic soundness and be- 
cause he was very anxious to make the 
best available use of the supplies which 
had been accumulated in the Mediter- 
ranean. At Tehran Somervell learned 
directly from Marshal Stalin that he was 
generally satisfied with the work of the 
Persian Gulf Service Command in deliver- 
ing supplies to the Russians. This was of 
course welcome news. When possible, dur- 
ing the Cairo Conference of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, Somervell reminded the 
strategic planners of the supply needs of 
MacArthur's theater. 

Before returning to Cairo, Somervell 
dispatched General Lutes to North Africa 
and India. Some complaints had been 
voiced about supply support of the Ameri- 
can Fifth Army in Italy. Lutes found that 
the major shortages in Italy resulted from 
faulty manifesting of cargoes shipped out 
of Oran. Thus the difficulty was not ASF 
performance in the United States but sup- 
ply work in the theater. It was vital for the 
ASF to know this. In India Lutes followed 
up the arrangements made by Somervell 
for increasing the supply capacity of the 
Assam line of communications. He recom- 
mended that one supply officer be re- 
placed, a move which was promptly 

carried out. He also found that the ab- 
sence of an adequate priority system over 
the Hump was creating supply conflict 
between air and ground units in China. 
By the time he left this situation had been 

Preparations for OVERLORD 

Throughout the first half of 1944, Gen- 
eral Somervell's main worry was the prep- 
arations for Overlord. There must be no 
repetition of the unfortunate experience in 
England in the summer of 1942 when sup- 
plies could not be used for the North 
African invasion because they could not 
be unearthed in British warehouses. The 
United States had long been advocating 
the cross-Channel invasion. It would be 
the largest Allied military operation of 
World War II and the first time in the war 
that the full might of American manpower 
and materiel would be thrown against the 
enemy. None of the preparations for 
North Africa, Sicily, Italy, or the Pacific 
was an adequate guide to the present 

Early in April therefore, General Lutes 
was sent to England to review the logisti- 
cal preparations for the Normandy inva- 
sion. General Lee, the SOS commander 
in the theater, quite naturally was not 
happy about this apparent overseeing of 
his operations. 16 While Lutes found the 
theater supply situation satisfactory in 
general, he also noted that it contained 
grave weaknesses which boded ill for the 
future. He advised General Lee to 
strengthen his staff organization, to estab- 
lish a definite program of advance plan- 

15 Min, cited in n. 14. 

16 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 1 1 May 44, Hq ASF, 
T of Opns (5), European 1944. 



ning, to improve the methods for comput- 
ing supply needs, to institute better stock 
control, to expedite the delivery of critical 
supply items, and to develop better rela- 
tions with General Eisenhower's head- 
quarters. Lutes explained to Somervell 
that he had not taken up all these matters 
with General Eisenhower because Lee was 
Somervell's nominee; in Lutes' eyes loyalty 
to Somervell demanded that he refrain 
from "exciting Eisenhower on any defi- 
ciencies." 17 

Moreover, General Lutes believed that 
in spite of weaknesses, it was too late to 
make serious staff changes. He contented 
himself with plugging loopholes. When he 
was ready to leave he informed General 
Eisenhower that the assault forces were 
sufficiently equipped, that plans for main- 
tenance up to forty-one days after landing 
were satisfactory, that new plans would 
probably insure supplies up to ninety 
days, and that while Lee's staff was "not 
the tops," it was "learning" and there was 
time to remedy weaknesses. 18 

In April 1944 Somervell invited the key 
supply officers of the European theater to 
bring a statement of their last-minute 
needs to the United States in person on 1 
May. A series of conferences was held in 
Somervell's office, in which technical serv- 
ice chiefs met with their ETO counterparts 
and discussed both the existing supply 
situation and the manner of meeting the 
inevitable problems that would arise. By 
15 May the European supply officers had 
returned to the United Kingdom, and the 
ASF was sending the last-minute cargoes 
overseas. By the first of June, General 
Somervell felt that he had done practically 
everything within his power to insure 
against a supply failure in the Army's 
greatest military operation in American 
history. 19 

Italy and France 

At the end of the first week in August 
1944, General Somervell accompanied 
Under Secretary Patterson on a trip of 
more than 14,000 miles to North Africa, 
Italy, and the French areas under Allied 

One of the early stops was at the port of 
Naples which was found to be bristling 
with activity, and congested. Here they 
met and talked to Marshal Tito, leader of 
the Yugoslav resistance movement. The 
Germans in that area were pictured as 
being on a "front window" basis — every- 
thing in front and almost nothing behind. 
After inspecting various installations in 
the vicinity of Naples, the group went on 
to Rome, observing battlefields along the 

The Under Secretary had taken more 
than a casual interest in the preparations 
for the invasion of southern France, now 
scheduled for 15 August. Following a brief 
visit to the fighting front in Italy, which 
had moved north of Rome to the valley of 
the Arno River, the Under Secretary and 
the commanding general of the ASF 
crossed to Corsica to watch the launching 
of the invasion of southern France. Prime 
Minister Churchill, who was also on hand 
for the event, invited the two Americans 
to accompany him to watch the actual 
landings. Then, a day or two later, 

17 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 29 Apr 44, sub: Rpt 
on ETO; Ltr, Somervell to Lutes, 4 May 44; Memo, 
Lutes for Somervell, 8 May 44, sub: Personal Rpt. All 
in Hq ASF, T of Opns (5), European 1944. 

18 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 9 May 44, Hq ASF, 
T of Opns (5), European 1944. 

18 The preparations for Overlord are described 
in detail in Roland G. Ruppenthal, The European The- 
ater of Operations: Logistical Support oj the Armies , I, 
(Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 



Mr. Patterson and General Somervell 
sailed for the French coast in an American 
destroyer and landed on the beachhead. 
Somervell took great pride in the way in 
which the supply operation was being 
handled by Generals Larkin and Wilson 
and in the strategic success which the en- 
tire campaign was achieving. Though the 
date of the operation had been postponed 
because of a shortage of landing craft, the 
campaign when launched was highly suc- 
cessful. Indeed throughout the whole win- 
ter of 1944-45, the supply system up the 
Rhone Valley helped reduce the supply 
pressures in western and northern France 
and the Low Countries. Once again, sup- 
ply planning had had a direct effect upon 
military operations. 

The Under Secretary's party then flew 
to England for a short stay. On 21 and 22 
August they visited the U.S. forces in 
France which had broken through enemy 
resistance at St. Lo and were racing for 
the German border, putting General 
Eisenhower's supply organization to a su- 
preme test. While Somervell was gratified 
to see that the rear areas were not seriously 
clogged, he saw great potential danger in 
relying long on the beaches to handle all 
the supplies required to maintain the of- 
fensive. Only by getting ports into full 
operation before the arrival of the autum- 
nal storms could a steady and sufficient 
flow of supplies be assured. 20 

On 27 August Somervell was once more 
back in the United States, greatly con- 
cerned about two situations. The rapidity 
with which the Germans were driven out 
of France had brought a great wave of 
optimism in the United States and a con- 
viction that the war in Europe would be 
over within a month. Having just seen 
Allied forces stalled in northern Italy, and 
suspecting that the Siegfried Line would 

prove a greater barrier than popularly be- 
lieved, General Somervell was worried 
about the prevailing optimism. He feared 
that it might have the effect of slowing 
down the output of munitions in the 
United States. 21 In the second place, Som- 
ervell was gravely concerned about supply 
in the European theater. General Patton 
had been halted in front of Metz and 
Verdun by enemy resistance and by over- 
extended supply lines. There was still no 
port with adequate facilities for unloading 
supplies from England and the United 
States. The Germans held the Breton ports 
and there was little prospect of using Bor- 
deaux. Drastic action of some sort was 
needed. The original plans for the inva- 
sion of France had called for the prompt 
capture of the French western ports, espe- 
cially Cherbourg, and, if possible, Brest, 
in order to provide unloading capacity for 
continued support of military operations. 
Thereafter, additional troops and supplies 
were to be shipped to them directly from 
the United States to strengthen the inva- 
sion operation. Estimates of the equipment 
needed for reconstruction of the ports were 
submitted to the Army Service Forces in 
the summer of 1943, and the supplies were 
in England before the actual assault upon 
the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944. 
But execution of these plans was ham- 
pered by the delay of the Allied forces in 
breaking out of the Normandy peninsula, 
the slowness in restoring the port of Cher- 
bourg, and the failure of our forces to 
capture any other Atlantic port on the 
coast of France. 

The progress of the antisubmarine cam- 

a " Memo, E. Martin Jr., Aide-de-camp, to CG, 
Aug 44, sub: Informal Recs of Trip, 8-27 Aug 44; 
USW Patterson, Log of Trip, Aug 44. Both in Hq 
ASF, Trips (10), Somervell's Trip, 1944. 

21 See below, |p^~5B5^BfT| 



paign in the Atlantic by the end of 1943 
had led the ASF to recommend a reduc- 
tion in the supplies stored temporarily in 
England for the use of the invasion forces 
in France. Thus, in the period between 6 
June and 30 September 1944, one million 
long tons of supplies and equipment were 
discharged in France directly from the 
United States, while another 1.7 million 
long tons were transshipped from the 
United Kingdom. But in September when 
the Allied forces pushed all the way to the 
German border, more than half of all sup- 
plies sent to France were still being dis- 
charged over the Normandy beaches. Ships 
were crowded in the English Channel 
awaiting discharge. 22 Shipping schedules 
were being disrupted by these delays, and 
military operations were being stymied by 
the slowness with which supplies reached 
the front lines. 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff met 
again in September 1944 at Quebec. With 
the end of the war against the Nazis seem- 
ingly so close at hand, the most important 
single issue confronting President Roose- 
velt and Prime Minister Churchill was the 
occupation policy for Germany. Somer- 
vell's interest still centered on shipping 
capacities, and on the arrangements for 
shifting Allied military weight to the Pa- 
cific. Great Britain, with the postwar 
world in mind, was deeply concerned 
about supply and lend-lease, and Church- 
ill was willing to make many concessions 
on other matters in order to bolster Brit- 
ain's future economic position. General 
Somervell, who had always been opposed 
to the idea of letting England calculate 
future political and economic advantages 
as part of its war plans, favored a policy 
by which all lend-lease materials left after 
the defeat of Germany and not used 
against Japan would be returned to the 

United States. His point of view did not 
prevail. 23 

Disagreement between the British and 
Americans about inventories of petroleum 
supplies in Europe was evident at Quebec, 
but this difference was finally settled after 
some negotiations in November. In es- 
sence, the problem was one of the amount 
of petroleum reserves to be maintained in 
the United Kingdom. The British wanted 
to hold on to these reserves and to supply 
operational needs in France from other 
sources, largely American. On the other 
hand, there were few facilities on the Con- 
tinent in which to store petroleum reserves. 
In the end, a single inventory level was 
agreed upon for both England and the 
Continent. As storage facilities were pro- 
vided in France, the share of the reserves 
carried there would go up. Even so, the 
inventory level was high enough to permit 
maintenance of sizable petroleum supplies 
in the United Kingdom. 24 

Supply Crisis in the European Theater 

Shortly after the second Quebec Con- 
ference, General Somervell again sent 
General Lutes to the European Theater of 
Operations to see what could be done to 
improve the situation there. By this time 
it was apparent that there would be no 
quick victory against the Germans in 
western Europe. Enemy withdrawal to 
the German border had shortened their 
supply lines and greatly extended our 

22 Logistics in World War II, p. 43. 

23 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 1 1 Sep 42, sub: Policy 
Concerning Disposal of LL Material Following the 
befeat of Germany, Hq ASF, Quebec Conf; Henry 
Morgenthau, Jr., "The Morgenthau Diaries," Col- 
liers, (October 18, 1947), p. 16. 

2 ' Memo, Somervell to CofS, 4 Nov 44, sub: Levels 
of Sup of All Petroleum Products in All Theaters, Hq 



own. The stiff defense of Aachen, which 
was reduced only after a heavy siege, re- 
vealed the quality of opposition which the 
Germans could still offer. To cope with the 
situation, General Eisenhower now wanted 
more ammunition and more big guns. 25 

As General Lutes analyzed the supply 
crisis in October and November, he came 
to the conclusion that the greatest single 
difficulty arose from the absence of an 
adequate system of supporting depots. 
From the time of the invasion until early 
August, the beaches and ports in Nor- 
mandy served both as base depots and as 
depots issuing directly to units in the field. 
When the break-through came, the supply 
organization had no choice but to haul 
supplies all the way from the Normandy 
dumps to the combat troops. There was 
neither time nor personnel for moving 
supplies to intermediate or advance de- 
pots where they could be sorted and then 
issued to the combat commands only a 
short distance away. 26 The famous Red 
Ball Express and other devices simply 
hauled the most urgently needed supplies, 
especially food, gasoline, and ammunition, 
all the way from Normandy to the French 
border for immediate pickup by supply 
units of the combat commands. Some- 
times, when certain specific replacement 
supplies were needed, combat supply 
troops went all the way back to Normandy 
to find what they wanted. With the front 
lines stabilized in September, General 
Lutes joined with the staff of the Commu- 
nications Zone in arranging a program for 
building up advance depots close to the 
combat zone. This meant that the combat 
commands would look to the advance de- 
pots for all their supply needs, while the 
advance depots would in turn be assured 
of a constant flow from Normandy. 27 

The inadequate depot situation on land 

was matched by a serious breakdown in 
ship discharge. The ASF earlier had con- 
sented to selective discharge, which re- 
sulted in ships becoming "floating ware- 
houses." This consent had been reluctantly 
given to the theater and with the under- 
standing that it was to be a temporary 
expedient. But more and more throughout 
August and September, ships remained 
tied up in Channel waters still fully or 
partially loaded, upsetting the whole 
world-wide shipping program. 

Another problem was direct shipment. 
While the ASF was willing to ship supplies 
directly to France from the United States 
to support the large numbers of additional 
troops which were sent to the Continent 
after 15 August, it was not prepared to 
meet all Allied supply needs solely from 
the United States. General Somervell was 
convinced, for instance, that much of the 
ammunition which Eisenhower's head- 
quarters was now requisitioning was actu- 
ally on hand in England. 28 ETO supply 
officers were so harassed in trying to get 
mat6riel from the Normandy peninsula to 
the German border that they had prac- 
tically forgotten about the supplies which 
remained in England. 

In October General Somervell decided 
to send General Clay to Europe to look 
into these vexing matters. 29 In a memo- 
randum to General Clay upon the eve of 

25 Ltr, Lutes to Somervell, 7 Dec 44; Memo, Lutes 
to Somervell, 20 Dec 44. Both in Hq ASF, T of Opns 
(7), European Theater. 

28 For a fuller account see Ruppenthal, Logistical 
Support of the Armies. 

27 Ltr, Brig Gen Royal B. Lord to Lutes, 27 Sep 44, 
Hq ASF, T of Opns (10), European Theater. 

26 Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 1 1 Aug 44; Memo, Lutes to 
Clay and Gen Wood, 10 Aug 44. Both in Hq ASF, 
Trips (10), Somervell's Trip, 1944. 

2 " Rad, Somervell to Eisenhower, Personal from 
Marshall, 18 Oct 44, Hq ASF, T of Opns (7), Euro- 
pean Theater. 



his departure, Somervell specified two 
subjects for his primary consideration. 
One was the ammunition situation, par- 
ticularly the possibility of unearthing an 
unused ammunition supply in England. 
The second was the delay in discharging 
ships. In the first fifteen days of October, 
the European theater had indicated that 
it would be able to unload seventy-five 
ships, whereas actually it had discharged 
but fifteen. 30 General Clay gave special at- 
tention to the reconstruction of the port of 
Cherbourg in order to increase discharge 
capacity and speed the turnaround of ves- 
sels. Somervell then sent his chief of trans- 
portation, General Gross, to France in 
November to check on shipping prob- 
lems. 31 A big step toward the solution of 
the transportation logjam proved to be 
the acquisition of the port of Antwerp, 
which fortunately had fallen almost intact 
into Allied hands in September. The Ger- 
mans had withdrawn so precipitately that 
they had had no opportunity to destroy 
the extensive facilities of one of the largest 
ports in northwestern Europe. The enemy 
still controlled the estuary of the Scheldt, 
however, so no Allied shipping could gain 
access to the port. Not until November, 
after General Eisenhower had brought the 
urgency of the situation directly to Field 
Marshal Montgomery's attention, did the 
21st Army Group succeed in clearing the 
way to the port. But the opening of Ant- 
werp alone was not enough. Twenty-seven 
piers were of little use unless ships were 
discharged promptly and the supplies 
quickly moved from portside to distribu- 
tion depots beyond the port area. At the 
end of November both General Lutes and 
General Gross were pressing for prompt 
release of ships from Antwerp piers. Some 
of the officers on General Lee's Communi- 
cations Zone staff believed supplies should 

be held in Antwerp until the Rhine was 
crossed before the setting-up of sorting 
and distribution depots. Lutes insisted 
upon immediate action. 

In the middle of December General 
Somervell himself once more went to 
France, this time upon the direct personal 
insistence of Under Secretary Patterson, 
who was concerned about the capacity of 
the supply organization to meet the needs 
of the winter offensive. 32 

General Somervell arrived just about 
the time the Germans launched their big 
counteroffensive in the Ardennes. The im- 
mediate problem of Supreme Headquar- 
ters, Allied Expeditionary Force, was to 
halt it. With the passing of the initial 
crisis, attention once more was directed to 
reorganizing the supply needs of the the- 
ater. After careful consideration Somervell 
embodied his recommendations in a 
memorandum for General Lee which was 
personally approved by Eisenhower. One 
proposal was to consolidate the supply 
organization in northern France and 
southern France. Up to this time, the 
southern line of communication, based 
upon Marseilles, had continued its sepa- 
rate operation in support of the 6th Army 
Group under Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers. 
Between the two ports of Antwerp and 
Marseilles, Somervell felt that the com- 
bined supply needs of General Eisenhower 
could be adequately met. The Communi- 
cations Zone of the European theater now 
took over the southern France supply or- 
ganization, with Maj. Gen. Thomas B. 
Larkin, the commanding general of the 
latter becoming chief of staff under Gen- 

30 Memo, Somervell for Clay, 2 1 Oct 44, Hq ASF. 

31 Ltr, Col L. W. Finlay, OCT, to CG NYPE, 14 
Dec 44, OCT, HB, Gross Day File. 

32 Ltr, Somervell to Eisenhower, 12 Dec 44, Hq 
ASF, T of Opns (7), European Theater. 



eral Lee. Somervell also recommended 
several steps to strengthen the staff of the 
Communications Zone of the ETO. For 
example, he urged the creation of a Con- 
trol Division in the Communications Zone 
headquarters, and sent General Robinson 
from Washington to organize the unit. 

The confusion that had developed in 
the supply system in the theater had led 
several field commanders to look upon the 
system as at best mediocre. This led to a 
movement for the reorganization of the 
Communications Zone command and 
staff which General Lutes seemed to favor. 
General Eisenhower, although aware of 
the existing conditions, hesitated to relieve 
a lieutenant general unless it became nec- 
essary to avoid a complete breakdown. 
There was no such clear-cut breakdown — 
the best way to put it, according to Gen- 
eral Lutes after he talked with Eisen- 
hower, was "that the machine does not 
move smoothly, but it does run." 33 

Malta and Yalta 

In January 1945 General Somervell 
went to Marseilles to join General Mar- 
shall. They spent a few days at Cap 
d'Antibes reviewing the situation in the 
European theater. Somervell reported on 
his own activities and gave assurances that 
the supply should now be adequate to 
meet the needs of the planned oper- 
ations. 34 

From southern France, General Somer- 
vell accompanied the Chief of Staff to 
Malta for a meeting of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff. The main supply problems 
that came under consideration dealt with 
steps necessary for the successful conclu- 
sion of the campaign in the Pacific. 35 Gen- 
eral Somervell was called upon to present 
the Combined Chiefs with timetables and 

estimates of the volume of supplies avail- 
able for the war against Japan. Also an 
agreement was reached with the British 
whereby the Americans would have 
Bremen as a port to supply our occupation 
forces in Germany. 36 

From Malta, Somervell accompanied 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the Presi- 
dent, and the Prime Minister to Yalta for 
the second conference with the Russians. 
Once again, political problems were of 
primary importance, but also discussed as 
incidental matters were problems of sup- 
ply and of cargo shipping. 37 

The War in the Pacific 

In the meantime, events were proceed- 
ing rapidly in the Pacific. By the summer 
of 1944 the Central Pacific forces under 
Admiral Nimitz had reached Saipan and 
Guam. In the Southwest Pacific, General 
MacArthur had reached the northwest tip 
of New Guinea and was poised for an at- 
tack upon the island of Morotai in Sep- 

One of the most interesting episodes in 
ASF supply planning occurred about this 
time. Among the different Pacific studies 
started by the ASF in 1942, there was one 

33 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 17 Dec 44, sub: Pre- 
liminary Rpt; Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 3 1 Dec 44. 
Both in Hq ASF, T of Opns, European Theater, 31 
Dec 44. 

34 Ltr, Somervell to Styer, 1 1 Jan 45, Hq ASF, Co£S 
ASF, 1945. 

35 Earlier, while in Paris, Somervell had talked at 
length with General Lee and his principal assistants 
about arrangements to be set up for shipping men and 
supplies to the Pacific. See Min, Comd and Staff 
Conf, Hq Communications Zone, ETO, Hq ASF, T of 
Opns, European Theater, 1945. 

3 " Min, 185th Mtg, CCS, 2 Feb 45, Argonaut Conf 
[Malta], Official Argonaut Conference Book. 

37 Min, 186th-87th Mtgs, CCS, 6, 8 Feb 45, Argo- 
naut Conf [Russia], Official Argonaut Conference 



which looked forward to the eventual re- 
capture of the Philippines. These studies 
were based on an assumption that the 
island of Mindanao would be occupied 
first and used as a base of operations for 
an assault on Luzon. 38 It was on this 
strategic concept that ASF procurement 
and distribution plans and operations for 
the Pacific had been undertaken. All pre- 
vious planning had to be reconsidered 
when, at the Sextant Conference in No- 
vember 1943, the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff suggested dropping plans for an at- 
tack on Luzon alone in favor of an oper- 
ation against Luzon, Formosa, and the 
China coast. This they believed would 
open the way for an earlier attack on the 
Japanese home islands. 39 It soon became 
apparent however that a simultaneous op- 
eration of this sort presented great difficul- 
ties and unjustified risks, and so no final 
decision was made on strategy to be fol- 
lowed in defeating Japan. 

In May 1944 the Joint Strategic Survey 
Committee of the JCS considered a pro- 
posal for an operation against Formosa 
alone. The ASF representative on the 
Joint Logistics Committee (JLC), Maj. 
Gen. Walter A. Wood, Jr., supported in- 
stead the plan for a Philippine campaign 
as more feasible than a direct attack on 
Formosa. Although Formosa was farther 
to the north than the Island of Luzon and 
somewhat closer to Japan itself, it was a 
great distance from any of the existing or 
planned supply bases in the Pacific. In 
addition, Formosa as a base would place 
U.S. forces in constant danger of both 
aerial and naval attack, particularly if the 
Philippines remained in Japanese hands. 
Formosan ports were small and might 
easily be blocked. Luzon, on the other 
hand, not only was a much larger island 
which might more easily be defended, but 

it had larger airfield capacity, a better 
road network, and the great harbor of 
Manila Bay. Moreover, the friendly Phil- 
ippine population could be counted upon 
to do much of the work in developing air- 
fields and supply facilities for the later as- 
sault upon the home islands of Japan 
itself. 40 

Meanwhile the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
asked MacArthur to plan for an invasion 
of Luzon with a target date of 15 Febru- 
ary 1945, while Admiral Nimitz was to 
prepare a plan for the attack on Formosa 
with the same target date. Neither plan 
was definitely approved at the time. 41 The 
ASF representative on the JLC continued 
to press his argument that the supply as- 
pects of a Formosa operation made it 
definitely inferior to the Philippines as an 
objective. While a decision was pending, 
the ASF pushed its own supply prepara- 
tions for an operation based on the seizure 
of the Philippines. 

A decision was eventually forced by cir- 
cumstances. The sequence of dramatic 
events has been told by General Marshall 
in his final report. The JCS on 13 Septem- 
ber 1944, were meeting with the British at 
the Octagon Conference in Quebec when 
they received a copy of a communication 
from Admiral Halsey to Admiral Nimitz. 
As a result of his naval operations in and 
around the Philippines, Admiral Halsey 
recommended that projected operations 
against Mindanao and other islands to the 
south should be canceled, and that Amer- 
ican forces occupy Leyte in the central 

38 Planning Div, ASF, Job A47-147. 

38 CCS Papers 397, 417, 426, Dec 43, Official Sex- 
tant Conference Book. 

10 Logistics Study of Proposed Plan for Invasion of 
Formosa, 15 Mar 44; Logistical Capabilities of For- 
mosa in a Limited Operation, 24 Aug 44. Both in 
Planning Div, ASF, Job A47-147. 

41 JCS 713/4, 12 Mar 44. 



Philippines as rapidly as possible. On this 
same day, Admiral Nimitz informed the 
JCS that he could place certain forces, 
then loading in Hawaii, at General Mac- 
Arthur's disposal. MacArthur's views were 
requested by the JCS. Two days later he 
advised them that he would be able to 
land on Leyte on 20 October. This mes- 
sage from General MacArthur arrived at 
Quebec when the four members of the 
United States Joint Chiefs of Staff were 
being entertained at a formal dinner. 
Within ninety minutes of the time that the 
message was received, orders were issued 
to Admiral Nimitz and General Mac- 
Arthur to abandon the previously ap- 
proved intermediary landings, and to 
carry out the Leyte operation on 20 Octo- 
ber. MacArthur's acknowledgement of his 
new instructions reached General Mar- 
shall while he was returning to his quar- 
ters from the dinner. 42 

After the successful occupation of Leyte, 
the JCS, in October 1944, ordered the 
seizure of Luzon, an operation which be- 
gan in January 1945. The continued sup- 
port of General MacArthur's operations 
by the new overwhelming naval power in 
the Pacific made his land achievements 
possible. In the meantime, the Navy, with 
the Tenth Army under its command, 
began the Okinawa campaign on 1 April 

After his return from Yalta, General 
Somervell was preoccupied with a twofold 
problem: the demobilization of part of the 
Army after the defeat of Germany, and the 
transfer of another part of the Army and 
its supplies from Europe to the Pacific. 
Even though Luzon was not entirely in 
American hands until April 1945, plans 
had already been made to use the island 
as the principal base for the attack on the 
Japanese home islands. Added to Somer- 

vell's concern over the immediate ASF 
performance of redeployment and demo- 
bilization were his apprehensions regard- 
ing the quality of the supply job to be 
done in the Philippines. 

Tentative supply plans for the oper- 
ations against Japan were proposed as 
early as December 1 944. These plans in 
turn were used by General MacArthur's 
command as a guide in its own planning. 
The target date for the first operation, an 
attack on the southernmost island of 
Kyushu, depended upon the redeploy- 
ment of troops from Europe and the as- 
sembly of the necessary shipping. The 
main island of Honshu was to be attacked 
four months later. 43 

In April 1945, Somervell sent General 
Styer to the Philippines to observe the 
preparations that were being made in 
building up the great base for future mili- 
tary operations. 44 General Styer, shortly 
after his arrival, sent word back that Mac- 
Arthur wished him to become the supply 
commander for future operations. Somer- 
vell was happy to release General Styer, 
believing that he would bring to the task 
an intimate knowledge of the difficulties 
which had been encountered in Europe as 
well as a complete understanding of ASF 
thinking about supply organization and 
operation. Here seemed to be the solution 
to the problem of maintaining close work- 
ing relationships between an overseas sup- 
ply command and the ASF in the United 

General Styer returned to the United 

42 Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United 
States A rmy, July 1 , 1943 to June 30, 1945 to the Secretary 

43 Logistics Studies for Projected Operations, ASF- 
P-SL-1, 28 Nov, 1 1 Dec 44, Planning Div, ASF, Job 

44 Ltr, Styer to Somervell, 6 Apr 45, Hq ASF, Co£S 
ASF, 1945. 



States in May and made arrangements to 
take back with him many of the key officers 
of the ASF. But when he got back to the 
Pacific, the command which awaited him 
was not the one he had originally ac- 
cepted. Instead of becoming supply com- 
mander for all of the Army in the Pacific, 
he was appointed Commanding General, 
Army Forces, Western Pacific, with head- 
quarters in Manila. Lt. Gen. Robert C. 
Richardson, Jr., commanding at Hawaii 
since 1943, had become the commander 
of Army Forces, Middle Pacific in mid- 
1944. Both were subordinate to General 
MacArthur as Commander in Chief. 
Styer's responsibilities included supply in- 
stallations in the Philippine Islands. But 
all combat troops in the area were also 
under his command until their departure 
for the scene of the actual invasion. The 
basic planning and control of supply oper- 
ations as a whole remained in Mac- 
Arthur's own headquarters. Thus General 
Somervell's hopes for a unified supply 
command of high efficiency throughout 
the entire Pacific area were not realized. 45 
When the war ended in Europe in May, 
transportation within the United States 
became the redeployment bottleneck 
which the ASF had anticipated. At first 
General Somervell and General Gross, 1 the 
Chief of Transportation, had opposed the 
idea of returning to the United States 
troop units destined for use in the Pacific. 
Their opposition was based upon the logis- 
tical factors in the situation. It would take 
more ships to move men across the At- 
lantic to the United States and then from 
the west coast across the Pacific, than to 
move them directly from Europe to Pacific 
bases by way of either the Suez or the 
Panama Canals. Moreover, railroad trans- 
portation within the United States was 
scarcely adequate to handle the load. 

Transcontinental rail facilities were lim- 
ited, as was the capacity of west coast 
ports. But ASF objections were overruled 
by the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of 
War on the grounds of soldier morale. 
They decided that the men who had 
served in Europe were entitled to a brief 
visit in the United States before being 
shipped to the Pacific. 46 

In compliance with this decision, 
Somervell pressed the Office of Defense 
Transportation (ODT) for more and more 
restrictions on civilian travel by rail. Many 
Pullman cars previously had been made 
available to the Army, but were now, for 
the first time during the war, removed 
from all civilian passenger runs of less than 
four hundred miles. Other restrictions on 
civilian traffic were under consideration 
but never had to be introduced. 47 


In July 1945 General Somervell re- 
turned to Europe to attend the Potsdam 
Conference. The problems under discus- 
sion involved only a few matters of direct 
concern to him. He was deeply worried 
about the disposition of the vast stores of 
military supplies in Europe, but a large 
part of these was scheduled for shipment 

45 USASOS GO 166, 30 May 45, sub: Assumption 
of Comd; "MacArthur Sets Up Supply Command," 
The Mew York Times, June 24, 1945; History of 
United States Army Forces Middle Pacific and Prede- 
cessor Commands during World War II, MS, 
OCMH, III, 436-48. 

There is a series of reports and studies of various 
dates on the subject, redeployment of U.S. forces after 
the fall of Germany, in Planning Div, ASF, Job 

47 Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, 
Organization, and Operations , Ch. IX; Min, ASF Staff 
Conf, 14 Aug 45, OCT, HB, ASF Weekly Confs, p. 7. 
See also Gross to Johnson, 30 May 45; USW tojohn- 
son, 9 Jul 45. Both in OCT, HB, Gross, ODT. 


directly to the Pacific area or to the 
United States for repair before subsequent 
military use. 48 

While the Potsdam Conference was in 
session, word came that the atomic bomb 
had been successfully tested in New Mex- 
ico. The development of this new weapon 
had been one of the tasks of the ASF. 
Somervell shared the general satisfaction 
brought about by the knowledge that this 
great effort had not been in vain. It 
seemed likely that the war in the Pacific 
might be over earlier than expected. 

After the Potsdam Conference, General 
Somervell began an extensive tour of the 
facilities being used for sending American 
soldiers back home. He was especially con- 
cerned that the unfortunate experience at 
the end of World War I should not be re- 
peated. At that time American soldiers 
had been moved rapidly into the vicinity 
of Brest only to camp under tents in the 
mud for weeks, and even months, await- 
ing transportation home. This time troops 
were to be moved into the port area only 
as ships were available to return them to 
the United States. Great recreational and 
educational programs were already under 
way to keep soldiers occupied. 49 The 
American troops, scattered all over France, 
the Low Countries, and western Ger- 
many, were gradually being concentrated 
in a few locations. The vast amount of 
supplies to be inventoried, cared for, and 
either shipped to the United States or 
moved into Germany for the occupation 
forces, gave American soldiers a good deal 
to do. It looked as if redeployment and de- 
mobilization would proceed on an orderly 

General Somervell returned to the 
United States the first week in August. 
The first atomic bomb was dropped upon 
Hiroshima on 5 August and the second 

was dropped upon Nagasaki three days 
later. On the morning of 14 August the 
Japanese decided to surrender. The war 
was over. But the job of the ASF was far 
from finished. There were contracts to 
cancel, surplus property to be identified 
and disposed of, troops to be brought 
home and discharged, and the transition 
from a wartime to a peacetime military 
command to be arranged. Many of the 
problems accompanying demobilization 
had been anticipated and detailed plans 
had been prepared. The job now was to 
carry them out. 

Other Overseas Operations 

The Persian Gulf Command was alto- 
gether a supply operation. Until Septem- 
ber 1942, American responsibilities in the 
area were in the field of construction and 
assembly of motor vehicles and aircraft. 
By directive of the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff in that month, the mission was ex- 
tended to the field of transport. Soon 
thereafter ; American troops began to ar- 
rive in Iran to take over the operation of 
port facilities and the state railway, and to 
establish an auxiliary motor transport sys- 
tem. New docks and warehouses and new 
plane and truck assembly plants had to be 
constructed. Rail transport was aug- 
mented by improving the highways and 
organizing a motor transport service. 
Eventually, nearly 30,000 supply troops 
of various kinds were located in the com- 
mand. During the period of active Anglo- 
American transport operations (1942-45) 
more than 5.1 million long tons of cargo 

48 Min, 193d-200th Mtgs, CCS, 16-24 Jul 45, Ter- 
minal Conf [Potsdam], Official Terminal Conference 

4 " Memo, CofS, 10 May 45, Hq ASF, CofS USA, 



moved through the Persian Corridor en 
route to Russia. 50 

Except for the activities of the Air 
Forces, including the later operations of 
the Twentieth Bomber Command from 
Chinese bases, Army duties in China, 
Burma, and India also were largely of a 
supply nature. In order to keep China ac- 
tively engaged in the war, it was essential 
to keep up a steady flow of military supply 
to her armies. The only available avenue 
of communication after the summer of 
1942 was by air over the Himalaya Moun- 
tains from Assam in northeast India. But 
airlift could scarcely deliver heavy con- 
struction equipment, machinery, tanks, 
and artillery in sizable quantities for 
Chinese troops. Therefore the opening of 
an overland line of communications was 
indispensable to success. The primary task 
assigned to the China-Burma-India thea- 
ter in 1942 and 1943 was to increase the 
airlift over the Hump and to begin the 
construction of a new land route into 
China, the so-called Ledo Road. This 
could be completed only with the success- 
ful elimination of the Japanese from North 
Burma. But military operations largely 
depended upon the rate of construction of 
the road. In the autumn of 1943, when the 
airlift operation was being expanded, the 
American Army organized a combat 
team, popularly known as Merrill's Ma- 
rauders, to assist Chinese, British and In- 
dian forces opening the way for the 
construction of the road. Air operations in 
support of ground attack also played a 
major role. Eventually, the combined 
Ledo and Burma Roads, renamed the 
Stilwell Road, were reopened in January 
1945. A pipeline to Kunming, China, was 
completed by July. 

Necessarily the ASF maintained close 
contact at all times with the military ac- 

tivity in India, Burma, and China. Al- 
though it was never possible to undertake 
large-scale efforts here when the main 
military force was employed against Ger- 
many, almost no part of the world pre- 
sented more challenging supply difficulties 
than Southeast Asia. 

Immediately after the American naval 
victory of Midway in 1942, Japanese 
troops landed and occupied three westerly 
islands at the end of the Aleutian chain of 
Alaska. The elimination of these Japanese 
forces was entrusted to the Western De- 
fense Command in the United States sup- 
ported by the Alaskan Department. Only 
a few military supplies of a special kind 
could be provided by the ASF for this 
undertaking. American forces landed at 
Attu Island on 1 1 May 1943, and anni- 
hilated the Japanese by 31 May. When 
forces landed on Kiska on 15 August, they 
found that the Japanese had evacuated 
the island. For the ASF, this campaign 
demonstrated two lessons: the importance 
of protective clothing and materials in 
harsh climates, and the importance of 
service troops in bringing an amphibious 
campaign to a successful conclusion. 

The variety of matters which directly or 
indirectly affected supply factors in World 
War II are evident from this cursory re- 
view of military events. Yet at the time, 
because of the pressure of circumstances, 
the importance of these factors was some- 
times overlooked. The Army Service 
Forces constantly reminded operational 
planners of the vital interrelationship be- 
tween strategy and supply. And it was this 
interrelationship which defined the role of 
the Army Service Forces in the strategic 
planning of World War II. 

50 Motter, The Persian Corridor and Aid to Russia, p. 6. 



On 9 March 1945 General Somervell 
told a group of some three hundred key 
officers of the ASF that this war, more 
than any other, had demonstrated the im- 
portance of supply. "The difference in 
supply superiority and in mobility between 

the Germans and the Americans is the 
contribution that we in the Army Service 
Forces are making to this war." 51 

51 Third ASF Anniversary Talk, distributed to all 
key pers of the ASF (mimeographed). 


Services 1 for the Army 

Procurement and supply were not the 
only activities of the Army Service Forces; 
a wide variety of other duties were also as- 
signed to it. Before the reorganization of 9 
March 1942, most of these duties had been 
performed by a heterogeneous group of 
administrative agencies. With the creation 
of the ASF, these agencies were brought 
together under one superior other than 
the Chief of Staff. 

Medical Service 2 

Some idea of the size of Medical De- 
partment operations in World War II can 
be obtained from a few statistics. During 
the years 1942-45, the number of admis- 
sions to Army hospitals from the Army 
alone was 14,700,000. This does not in- 
clude thousands of other patients who re- 
ceived treatment in these hospitals — cer- 
tain personnel of the Navy and Coast 
Guard, members of Allied forces, prisoners 
of war, and civilians. From November 
1942 to the end of 1946, the Army moved 
more than 660,000 patients from overseas 
areas to the United States; of these, 533,- 
000 returned by water and 127,000 by 
air. The movement reached a peak in 
May 1 945 when a total of 60,000 patients 
were returned to this country. 

The Surgeon General of the Army, who 
became a part of the Army Service Forces 
on 9 March 1942, was the chief of all 
Army medical activities. His status as such 

was not altered by the War Department 
reorganization. While he had certain pro- 
curement and supply responsibilities, 
these were incidental to his larger task: 
the direction and supervision of profes- 
sional medical service throughout the 

In the strictly technical field, the Medi- 
cal Department made valuable contribu- 
tions to the fields of medical research, 
preventive medicine, and therapy. It 
worked in close collaboration with govern- 
mental and private agencies, both in the 
United States and in Allied countries. 
From this collaboration resulted such 
spectacular achievements as the successful 
use of Atabrine as a malarial suppressive 
and of penicillin in the treatment of a 
wide range of wounds and general infec- 

'The term "services" is used in this chapter to 
cover the major tasks performed by the ASF not di- 
rectly a part of supply operations. In order to clarify 
the discussion of organizational relationships treated 
in later chapters, a description of the nature of these 
tasks and in some cases a discussion of the organiza- 
tional problems they created is considered desirable. 

2 The following account is based mainly on data 
furnished by the Historical Division of the Army 
Medical Library, which is preparing a detailed his- 
tory of the Army Medical Department in World War 
II. For a fuller discussion of some of the points men- 
tioned here, see "Developments in Military Medicine 
during the Administration of Surgeon General Nor- 
man T. Kirk," Bulletin of the U.S. Army Medical De- 
partment, VII |Jun 47), 520-62, (Jul 47), 594-646. 
The death and disease rates given are those most re- 
cently established by the Medical Statistics Division 
of the Surgeon General's office. 



tions, and further progress in the use of the 
sulfonamide compounds. Even more note- 
worthy was the development of new insec- 
ticides, especially DDT, which proved so 
effective in the control of such diseases as 
louse-borne typhus, one of the scourges of 
armies from the earliest times. 

The use of Atabrine was only one, 
though a highly important, item in the 
Army's program of preventive medicine. 
The policy of immunizing every soldier 
against typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, 
smallpox, and tetanus kept the incidence 
of these diseases so low as to be almost in- 
significant. With a better vaccine avail- 
able, the incidence of typhoid dropped 
from 0.37 in World War I, to 0.03 in 
World War II, and that of paratyphoid 
from 0.05 to 0.03. (These figures represent 
the number of cases per 1000 of Army 
strength per annum.) Only 12 cases of 
tetanus occurred during 1942-1945, a rate 
of 0.44 per 100,000 wounds and injuries 
as compared with 13.4 in World War I, 
during which a policy of universal im- 
munization against tetanus was not 
adopted. The number of smallpox cases 
declined from 853 in World War I to 1 16 
in World War II, a noteworthy result in 
view of the larger forces engaged and the 
difficulty of maintaining the effectiveness 
of a highly sensitive vaccine under ex- 
treme climatic conditions. Immunization 
against other diseases was limited to troops 
serving in regions where these diseases 
were a hazard, as for example, in the case 
of troops serving in areas where there was 
yellow fever. In spite of the fact that troops 
were exposed to it in these areas, there 
were no cases of the disease. Unfortu- 
nately 50,000 cases of jaundice were 
traced to the use of certain faulty lots of 
yellow-fever vaccine before these could be 

In the field of curative medicine, a no- 
table example of the military importance 
of improved methods of treatment was the 
decline in noneffective rates for venereal 
disease. The average number of men ab- 
sent from duty each day on account of this 
disease (or group of diseases) in World 
War I was 45 per 100,000; in World War 
II the number had dropped to 13. 
Another advance resulted from the grow- 
ing reliance on plasma, later supplanted 
in large part by whole blood, especially 
for the treatment of shock as an incident 
to wounds or surgery. Surgery also prof- 
ited from the practice of "phasing," which 
consisted of treating severe wounds by a 
series of predetermined procedures taking 
place at the points where each could be 
most efficiently performed. This reduced 
the gap in space and time between dis- 
ablement and expert attention. Aiding in 
this reduction was the revival of mobile 
surgical units, a form of which had been 
used in World War I; these enabled 
highly skilled surgeons to be rapidly con- 
centrated very near the front at points of 
greatest need. Improved means of trans- 
port served the same purpose, and the 
rapid movement of patients by air to cen- 
ters of definitive treatment became a fac- 
tor of increasing value in promoting 
recovery. Another important factor ena- 
bling World War II surgeons to keep the 
mortality rate low among the wounded 
was the use of improved agents and equip- 
ment for inducing anesthesia. 

Neuropsychiatric disorders constituted 
a major problem for both preventive and 
curative medicine throughout the war; no 
less than 18.7 percent of all patients 
evacuated to the United States during 
1942-45 were returned for this cause. At 
first much stress was placed on the screen- 
ing process — "diagnosis and disposal" — 



as a preventive. The great loss of man- 
power through this process and the grow- 
ing evidence that anyone could develop a 
psychoneurosis under certain conditions 
caused a shift of emphasis to the preven- 
tion of mental casualties by alleviating the 
circumstances which helped to create 
them: among other things, excessive 
length of combat, misassignment, poor 
leadership, and lack of personal convic- 
tion about the necessity of the war. With 
this approach went a more determined ef- 
fort to improve psychiatric treatment so 
that as many of the mentally ill as possible 
would be fit for at least a limited kind of 
military service. Part of this program was 
carried out through an elaborate system 
of rehabilitation which developed gradu- 
ally during the war and which was de- 
signed not only for psychoneurotics but 
for the physically disabled in the final 
stages of their treatment. 

The extensive use of "consultants" — 
highly trained experts from civilian life — 
to supervise the professional and in some 
cases the administrative activities of the 
Medical Department was an important 
development of World War II, although it 
had its precedent in World War I. These 
experts were armed with authority to 
work out policies and standards of practice 
which would give the Army the highest 
type of service in every branch of 

Professional decisions about medical 
care, so far as they could be separated 
from administrative action, remained the 
exclusive province of the Medical Depart- 
ment throughout the war. General Somer- 
vell followed clinical developments with 
interest and tried to keep himself in- 
formed, but he never bypassed The 
Surgeon General in seeking advice on 
such matters. 3 The administrative prob- 

lems to which ASF headquarters gave 
some attention during the war included 
such subjects as the procurement and use 
of personnel, the number and administra- 
tion of hospitals, the procurement and 
distribution of medical supplies, and the 
organizational structure of the Medical 
Department. Since decisions in these fields 
often had an important effect on the 
standards of professional care, and since 
the Medical Department rightly consid- 
ered itself the proper guardian of those 
standards, it was not always easy to recon- 
cile the viewpoints of ASF headquarters 
and The Surgeon General's office. Asa 
result, one or the other sometimes acqui- 
esced in a particular line of action with 
considerable reluctance. 

The Surgeon General reported short- 
ages of medical personnel throughout the 
war. Most constant and most serious was 
the shortage of physicians — particularly 
the various categories of specialists — but 
periodically there was also a shortage of 
nurses, dentists, veterinarians, and other 
types of medical personnel. The ASF in- 
sisted that the Medical Department 
economize in the use of doctors and other 
members of the medical profession, and it 
was largely in response to the urging of 
ASF headquarters that members of the 
Medical Administrative Corps, composed 
of nonmedical officers, were increasingly 
used for administrative duties instead of 
doctors, dentists, and veterinarians. The 
Medical Department also found it possible 

3 Somervell's refusal to interfere with professional 
Army policy on the cure of syphilis, in spite of his in- 
terest in the "five-day treatment," is a good example 
of his attitude. See Ltr, Dr. H. T. Hyman to Somer- 
vell, 22 Mar 43; Memo, Acting SG to CG ASF, 25 
Mar 43, sub: Short Intensive Treatment for Syphilis; 
Ltr, Somervell to Hyman, 29 Mar 43. All in Hq ASF, 
SG, 1943. 



Table 1 — Comparison of Medical Service, World War I and World War II 

Admissions {or 

Death from 

Death from 

Death from 

World War I 

•946. 8 




(Apr 17-Dec 18) 

World War II 





(Jan 42-Dec 45) 

•These figures were swelled by the incidence of influenza, which reached epidemic proportions in late 1918. Excluding influenza, disease 
admission and disease death rates for World War I would be 715.0 and 9.1 respectively; for World War II they would be 573.1 and 0.6. 

to turn over a sizable portion of the Army 
nurse's duties to civilian graduate nurses 
who could not meet the requirements for 
a commission, and to cadet nurses, nurses' 
aides, and male and female enlisted tech- 
nicians. Nevertheless, at no time during 
the war was The Surgeon General's de- 
mand for medical personnel fully met; nor 
was the problem of efficient and full-time 
use of this personnel ever solved to the 
satisfaction of all parties. 

The construction and maintenance of 
hospitals in the zone of interior was a joint 
responsibility of The Surgeon General and 
the Chief of Engineers. ASF headquarters 
took a hand in negotiations between them 
not only as a superior authority but as a 
controlling force in the distribution of 
materials and supplies among the various 
branches of the Army. A similar division 
of authority existed in the movement of 
patients, which devolved upon the Chief 
of Transportation as well as The Surgeon 
General; here, ASF headquarters had to 
mediate between the services in order to 
establish proper priorities in transporta- 
tion and to insure full use of facilities. 
Medical training and medical supply also 
were subjects in which ASF headquarters 
took great interest. Thus, while Army 
medical service was a responsibility of the 
Medical Department, its duties were per- 

formed as a part of the work of the Army 
Service Forces. 

A rough means of gauging the success 
of that medical service is to compare 
World War II with World War I as to 
rates of admission (to hospital and "quar- 
ters") for disease and as to rates of death 
from disease, wounds, and injuries. These 
rates as shown in the table on this page 
represent the number of cases per 1000 of 
Army strength per annum. 

Communications and Photographic Activities 

The Chief Signal Officer was more than 
a buyer of communications equipment. 
He was also in charge of the Army com- 
munications system, a network of radio, 
teletype, and wire communications link- 
ing the War Department with Army in- 
stallations in the United States and Army 
commands overseas. This work was highly 
technical, and had greatly improved 
through the years with the growth in 
technological knowledge. 4 

The Army Communications Service 
was frequently called upon to provide 

4 During the observance of the centennial of the 
telegraph on 24 May 1 944, the Signal Center in 
Washington sent a message around the world, through 
five different relay centers, in three-and-one-half 
minutes. Annual Rptof ASF, 1944, p. 188. 



message facilities on short notice. At the 
Yalta Conference in January 1945, for ex- 
ample, the meeting between the political 
heads of the United States, the United 
Kingdom, and Russia was scheduled at a 
place lacking communications facilities. 
Some 250 tons of equipment, including 
radio transmitters and receivers, teletype- 
writer apparatus, and a complete tele- 
phone system for local use were trans- 
ported to the Crimea. The telephone 
network covered an area of 2,376 square 
miles, with land-line telegraph circuits 
crossing two mountain ranges. The long- 
range radio transmitting facilities were in- 
stalled in a ship anchored sixty-five miles 
from the conference site — the first use of 
such a device in American communica- 
tions history. Yet this complex, extensive 
installation was completed and placed in 
operation in nine days. 5 

The work of the Communications Serv- 
ice was of special interest to the Intelli- 
gence Division (G-2) of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff for two reasons. In the 
first place, it was essential to insure the 
secrecy of messages transmitted to and 
from overseas. To maintain this secrecy, 
a variety of technical devices was used, 
ranging from automatic coders and de- 
coders to "scramblers." 6 Secondly, radio 
interception of enemy messages became 
one of the important sources of informa- 
tion about enemy plans and intentions. It 
was inevitable then that the Communica- 
tions Service should operate under the 
closest scrutiny of G-2. This was a rela- 
tionship with which ASF headquarters 
was entirely satisfied. 7 

On the other hand, the operation of the 
Army Pictorial Service was a constant 
source of concern to General Somervell. 
Essentially, the Signal Corps had two 
basic photographic missions. The first was 

to prepare training films and film strips for 
use at Army training posts; the second, to 
provide pictures of Army activities. These 
films and pictures might be used for com- 
bat analysis, for training purposes, for 
public relations, or for an historical 

The production of training films in- 
volved close working relationships with 
the motion picture industry centered in 
the Los Angeles area. Producers and ac- 
tors were among the first groups in this 
country in 1 940 to volunteer their services 
free or on a cost basis to the government. 
However commendable their actions may 
have been, motion picture producers and 
their staffs were difficult to work with. 
Partly because of this situation, and partly 
because of the photographic service itself, 
many of the training films that were pro- 
duced failed to meet the needs of the 
Army. 8 After 1942 more and more train- 
ing films were prepared at the Signal 
Corps Photographic Center on Long 
Island. 9 For a time, the Army Pictorial 
Service was removed from the jurisdiction 
of the Chief Signal Officer and placed di- 
rectly under the Commanding General, 
ASF. This action was shortly reversed 
when a new Chief Signal Officer, Maj. 
Gen. Harry C. Ingles, took over on 1 July 
1943. 10 

General Somervell was quite unhappy 
about "this picture business." Shortly after 
Ingles assumed command of the Signal 

5 Annual RptofASF, 1945, pp. 131-32. 

6 Memo, Brig Gen Robert H. Dunlop to Somervell, 
27 Jan 44, sub: Overseas Secret Rad Tel, Hq ASF, 
SigC, 1942-44. 

7 Ltr, Somervell to Maj Gen James A. Code, Jr., 3 
Mar 44, Hq ASF, SigC, 1942-44. 

s CD Rpt 47, Report of Training Film Program, 
1943, CD, ASF. 

9 Ibid. 

10 See below j p. 303] 



Corps, Somervell sent him an extract from 
a report he had received which read: 

The utter confusion that surrounds the 

Ehotographic departments in the field, is un- 
elievable. There are thousands of Signal 
Corps photographers and they take millions 
of pictures but what happens to them no one 
knows. . . . The photographers are encour- 
aged by public relations officers in many 
cases to bear down hard on pictures of the 
Commanding General whether or not he is 
a photogenic type. In one base, out of 4,000 
pictures, more than 2,500 were of the com- 
manding general eating lunch, picking roses, 
riding horses, going to the latrine, what have 
you. . . .' l 

As a result of such prodding, there was 
a marked improvement in the manage- 
ment of the Army Pictorial Service, and 
as time passed Somervell and his assistants 
gave less and less attention to photographic 


The Office of the Chief of Engineers in 
December 1941 was the Army agency re- 
sponsible for the construction of all types 
of military installations, from Ordnance 
factories to military posts and airfields. 
This agency was also responsible for the 
operation of utility systems and for the 
maintenance of the structures at army in- 
stallations both in the United States and 

The work of the Chief of Engineers 
began with the acquisition of building 
sites. From 1 July 1940 to the end of the 
war, the War Department acquired title 
to about thirty-nine million acres of land, 
an area larger than the state of Illinois. 
More than five sixths of this total involved 
simply the transfer of public land from one 
custody, primarily that of the Interior De- 
partment, to that of the War Department. 
Much land and many facilities were leased 

rather than purchased. Whether wanted 
or not, real estate problems became a big 
job for the Army. 12 

The Army's construction program was 
one of the first and largest phases of de- 
fense mobilization to get under way. As of 
30 June 1942, the Army's authorized con- 
struction program amounted to about 7.5 
billion dollars, of which 2.7 billion dollars 
was for Ordnance plants and depots, 2 
billion dollars for air installations, and 1.4 
billion dollars for Army camps to train 
ground troops. The remaining 1.4 billion 
dollars was divided among a large number 
of other installations. Only about one half 
of this total program was then in place. 13 

During the period from July 1942 to 
June 1943, the construction program ex- 
panded in total volume from 7.5 billion 
dollars to 9.3 billion dollars, of which 95 
percent was in place by 30 June 1943. In 
the following two years only an additional 
1.3 billion dollars was spent on new plants 
inside the United States. Much of the con- 
struction in the late war years was for pro- 
duction of the atomic bomb and for air 
facilities to accommodate large bombers. 
The construction program during World 
War II was the largest construction pro- 
gram ever undertaken over a five-year 
period of time under single direction in 
American history. 14 

As construction slowed down in 1943 
and 1944, maintenance problems in- 
creased. By the end of fiscal 1945, the 
Corps of Engineers was supervising the 

11 Memo, Somervell for Maj Gen Harry C. Ingles, 
25 Aug 43, Hq ASF, SigC, 1942-44. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943, pp. 187-88; 1944, pp. 
183-84; 1945, pp. 293-96; CD, ASF, Statistical Review, 
World War II, p. 13. 

"Annual Report of the Services of Supply, 1942 (Wash- 
ington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943), p. 
6 1 ; CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II, p. 1 1. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943, p. 181; CD, ASF, 
Statistical Review , World War II, p. 1 1. 



maintenance of 75,000 miles of road, 
23,000 miles of electric wire, 13,000 miles 
of water mains and an almost equal mile- 
age of sewer lines, nearly 3 ,000 miles of gas 
mains, and 1,600 miles of steam pipe. 15 

That General Somervell should be in- 
terested in the construction work of the 
Engineers is not surprising. An Engineer 
officer himself, he had been head of a 
major part of Army construction work 
from December 1940 to November 1941. 
He had a personal knowledge of the whole 
program. Since certain groups in the War 
Production Board were critical of the size 
of Army construction, after 1942 General 
Somervell tried to make sure that the ad- 
ditional facilities were actually needed 
and that materials and manpower would 
be available for their operation. 16 After 
1944 the efficient utilization of space 
in Army posts was a major objective of 
ASF headquarters. For example, it was 
more economical to operate a few training 
posts at or near full capacity than to op- 
erate twice as many at 50 percent ca- 
pacity. But to convince others accustomed 
to time-honored methods of operation was 
a difficult chore. 


Between March 1942, when the Army 
Service Forces was created, and August 
1945, some 6,881,01 1 men were inducted 
into the Army. Through The Adjutant 
General's office the ASF became the op- 
erating agency for performing this work. 

Induction consisted of four basic pro- 
cedures: medical examination, formal in- 
duction, classification, and initial assign- 
ment. An important question in medical 
examination was setting the physical 
standard required for Army service. At 
various times during the war, the actual 

physical qualifications for "general serv- 
ice" were altered. Medical rejection of 
men having a venereal disease, for exam- 
ple, decreased during 1943 as the Army 
found penicillin effective in combating 

Another problem was "limited service." 
For a time in 1943, the War Department 
refused to accept "limited service" men 
from the Selective Service System because 
of difficulty in making good use of them. 
Beginning in November 1943 the War De- 
partment tried to assign such men to the 
type of work for which they were best 
suited physically. A committee was or- 
ganized to work out a new physical classi- 
fication system with the Deputy Chief of 
Staff for the War Department as its 
chairman. Part of this burden fell upon 
the Army Service Forces. 

On 18 May 1944, the War Department 
officially announced a Physical Profile 
plan. The plan identified six primary 
physical characteristics: stamina, hearing, 
eyesight, motion and efficiency of upper 
and lower extremities, and neuropsychi- 
atric condition. Within each characteris- 
tic there were four grades — the first two 
qualified a man for general service, grade 
three for limited service, while a person 
falling predominantly in grade four was 
rejected for military service. The com- 
plexity of the new classification system was 
troublesome, but at least fuller informa- 
tion about the physical condition of each 
person became available. With the intro- 
duction of this plan, initial assignment 

,r 'Annual Rptof ASF, 1945, p. 297. 

'"A more detailed history of construction during 
the war in the zone of interior will appear in Jesse A. 
Remington, Blanche D. Coll, and Lenure Fine, ZI 
Construction, II, one of the Engineer volumes in prep- 
aration for the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN 



tended to be based primarily upon 
physical condition. 17 

After being inducted, the men were sent 
to reception stations operated by the ASF 
where they were issued Army clothes and 
given a number of tests. The most impor- 
tant of these was the Army General Classi- 
fication Test which divided men into five 
grades according to a person's ability to 
learn. Those in Grades IV and V were 
"slow learners" — one might say, persons 
impossible to teach. Other tests were in- 
tended to indicate mechanical, technical, 
and clerical aptitudes. On the basis of 
these tests and of personal interviews, a 
provisional classification was made of the 
kind of military work for which the indi- 
vidual seemed best fitted. Various types of 
military duties had been classified into a 
system of "military occupation specialty" 

While this system was useful, the effort 
to match military assignment with classi- 
fication was difficult to administer. In a 
time of mass induction, assignments could 
not be made on an individual basis. More- 
over, personnel demands at a particular 
moment did not necessarily fit the classi- 
fication qualifications of the group of men 
currently being inducted. Classifications 
did identify those particular specialists 
who were in "critical supply" at any one 
time, such as radio operators. These could 
be individually assigned. But with the 
specialized manpower needs of war, and 
with ten times as many different types of 
occupations in civilian life as in the Army, 
the classification process could not insure 
that all inductees would be placed at tasks 
related to their previous training and ex- 
perience. It was very important in select- 
ing specialists to fill Army needs to find 
men who had had equivalent civilian oc- 
cupations. Encouragingly, a sample sur- 

vey in 1943 indicated that 78 percent of 
the men studied were doing military work 
related to their civilian occupational 
specialty. 18 

Shortly after it came into existence, the 
Army Service Forces began to study pro- 
cedures in commissioning officers from 
civilian life. The Army had earlier 
adopted the practice of training young of- 
ficers for combat assignments in officer 
candidate schools open to men selected 
from the ranks. Other combat officers came 
from National Guard and Reserve Corps 
rolls. But many noncombat branches and 
higher headquarters of the Army neces- 
sarily recruited officers directly from civil 
life. This had always been the practice, for 
example, in the Medical Corps, since the 
Army never had a school to train doctors. 
Similarly, the Ordnance Department, the 
Transportation Corps, the Air Corps, the 
Quartermaster Corps, the Signal Corps, 
the Corps of Engineers, The Judge Advo- 
cate General's Department, the Chief of 
Chaplains, and other units, especially in 
ASF headquarters, needed many officers 
with special nonmilitary skills. All these 
agencies separately recruited officers who 
were subject only to hasty review by a Per- 
sonnel Board appointed by the Secretary 
of War. 

The commissioning of so many officers 
in so little time involved many problems, 
one of the most complicated of which was 
weeding out incompetents. Time was 
pressing and officer procurement officials 
necessarily relied heavily on recommenda- 
tions. Occasionally this had its humorous 
side as when one bank executive recom- 

" Annual Rpt of ASF, 1944, pp. 201-02. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943, p. 136; WD Pam 12-8, 
The Evaluation, Classification, and Assignment of 
Military Personnel, 28 Jul 44. 



mended a West Texas county judge in the 
following terms: 

. . . The old gentleman was a pretty good 
old guy in his day, but he has approached the 
age of senility, in addition to which he is 
probably the laziest man in West Texas. 
Although he is a veteran of the Spanish War, 
he still has ideas about his prowess, and is 
continually chasing blondes. He drinks a case 
of Budweiser every day, and his wife has to 
put him to bed every night. The least said 
about his honesty and ability is too much. If 
the Army can find any use for this old 
bastard, they are welcome to him. . . . 19 

Very few recommendations were so out- 
spoken. In fact one of the most serious 
drawbacks to this method of obtaining 
officers was that too often influential indi- 
viduals tried to get a job for the man 
rather than a man for the job. There were 
many complaints that only people of po- 
litical or social prominence were eligible 
for commissions, and that "pull" rather 
than merit was too often the deciding fac- 
tor. 20 Such protests were natural in any 
situation where so many people seeking 
commissions had to be turned down. Re- 
medial measures were taken when criti- 
cism seemed legitimate, but undoubtedly 
there was much truth in Secretary of War 
Stimson'sjest that to satisfy everybody, the 
Army would have to abolish the rank of 
private. 21 

In fact, if it had been left entirely to Sec- 
retary Stimson, very few commissions 
would have been given to civilians. The 
Secretary believed that the honor of a 
commission should be reserved for fighting 
men. In September 1942 he approved the 
creation of an Army Specialist Corps 
where men were selected on the basis of 
nonmilitary skills and wore uniforms dif- 
ferent from those of the Army. The experi- 
ment was abandoned in November 1942 
and the practice of commissioning civilians 

in the regular branches of the Army was 
resumed. 22 This attempt to establish an 
Army Specialist Corps failed because the 
Army did not recognize the importance of 
technicians and other experts in modern 
war and because such men could be more 
easily obtained if they were offered com- 
missions in the Army of the United States. 

The ASF established an Officer Pro- 
curement Service to recruit specialized 
officer personnel. 23 During the year 1942 
approximately 104,000 officers were com- 
missioned from civilian life. Nearly half of 
these were medical personnel, with most of 
the remainder about equally divided be- 
tween special units of the Army Air Forces 
and of the Army Service Forces. 24 In July 
1943 the Acting Secretary of War, Mr. 
Patterson, directed that, with certain ex- 
ceptions, officer recruitment from civilian 
life be discontinued. In the year ending 30 
June 1944, only 16,1 19 persons were com- 
missioned from civilian life, 80 percent of 
whom were doctors and chaplains. 25 

A major innovation in Army personnel 
policy came in the summer of 1942 when 
Congress authorized a Women's Army 
Auxiliary Corps, renamed in September 
1943, the Women's Army Corps (WAC). 
The ASF supervised the recruitment and 
training of this corps; by April 1945 its 

,<J Copy ltr, to San Antonio Offs Procurement Div, 
3 Sep 42, Hq ASF, Pers Military, 1942-44. 

20 Kansas City Star, May 4, 1942. 

21 Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and 
War, p. 350. 

2 - Ibid., pp. 456-57. See also EO 9078, 26 Feb 42; 
Memo, C. F. Robinson for Somervell, 25 Sep 42, sub: 
Army Specialist Corps. Both in Hq ASF, Army Spe- 
cialist Corps, 1941-42. 

2 ' 3 WD Cir 367, 7 Nov 42. 

2 < Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943, p. 139. 

25 Annual Report of the Secretary of War to the President, 
1944 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 



personnel totaled nearly 100,000 women. 26 
After legislation in November 1942, 
lowering the induction age limit from 
twenty to eighteen years, the War Depart- 
ment developed the Army Specialized 
Training Program for assigning some 1 50,- 
000 young soldiers to institutions of higher 
education. The program was administered 
by the Army Service Forces. The principal 
fields of study were engineering, medicine, 
mathematics, and various other branches 
of science, with a few assigned to personnel 
psychology and foreign area study. The 
program served in part to provide uninter- 
rupted training for professional specialties 
of importance to the Army; it also served 
to insure continued operation of institu- 
tions of higher education, many of which 
might otherwise have faced financial ruin. 
Because of Army manpower shortages, the 
program was almost completely liquidated 
on 1 April 1944, the medical phase being 
the major survivor. 27 

The War Department General Staff 
abolished the limited service classification 
in July 1943, and directed that all men be 
discharged who could not meet the cur- 
rent medical definition of "general serv- 
ice." 28 The policies of discharging physi- 
cally disqualified and overage enlisted 
personnel, discussed earlier, caused the 
ASF to separate nearly 70,000 men a 
month in 1943. 29 The experience brought 
the realization that existing separation 
processes were slow and clumsy. The ASF 
staff then set up new and simplified sepa- 
ration practices. The effectiveness of these 
changes was evident in the rapidity with 
which men were able to leave the Army at 
the end of the war. 

In June 1943, the War Department de- 
cided upon a policy of rotation in order to 
return to the United States men with 
lengthy overseas service. Rotation was a 

basic morale problem. There was a saying 
common among battle-weary troops, that 
"the Army consists of this division and 
eight million replacements." 30 Such troops 
needed relief. In September 1943 the ASF 
set up fourteen stations to receive soldiers 
returning from overseas and to assign them 
to new duties in the United States. In the 
year ending 30 June 1944, some 74,000 
men were handled by these reception sta- 
tions. 31 As more and more overseas per- 
sonnel became eligible for return to the 
United States, General Marshall grew 
concerned about the arrangements for 
their reception. He talked the matter over 
with General Somervell and others, and 
suggested the use of resort hotels to which 
enlisted men and officers might bring their 
wives for a period often to fourteen days 
before receiving a new assignment. 

In September 1944, the Army Service 
Forces accordingly opened five so-called 
redistribution centers at well-known resort 
hotels located at Lake Placid, Asheville, 
Miami Beach, Hot Springs, and Santa 

26 A detailed study of the WAC will appear in Mat- 
tie Treadwell, the Women's Army Corps, a volume 
in preparation for the series UNITED STATES 

" Memo, C. F. Robinson to CG ASF, 3 Jul 43, sub: 
Army Specialized Tng Program; Transcript-tel con- 
versation, Maj Gen Ray E. Porter and Brig Gen O. 
L. Nelson, Jr., 18 Feb 44. Both in Hq AST, Army 
Specialized Tng Div. Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943. See 
also Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley, and William R. 
Keast, The Army Ground Forces: The Procurement and 
Training of Ground Combat Troops, II, UNITED 
ton, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1948). 

28 WD Cir 161, 14Jul 43. 

!B The total for 1943 of 821,366 is shown in 
Strength of the Army, prepared for WDGS by Ma- 
chine Recs Br, AGO, under direction of Stat Br, GS, 
STM-30, 1 Jul 46, DRB AGO. 

10 Memo, Morale Svs Div, ASF for CofS, 23 Dec 
43, sub: Rpt B-81, What the Front-line Infantryman 
Thinks, Hq ASF, Morale Svs, 1941-44. 

■"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1944, p. 204. 



Barbara. A sixth was opened at Atlantic 
City in December. Two Army posts also 
became redistribution stations. This ar- 
rangement came to an end on 12 May 
1945, just after V-E Day. Altogether, 
more than 130,000 officers and men and 
20,000 dependents went through these 
redistribution stations. 32 

In January 1944 the Personnel Division 
of the General Staff made new efforts to 
retain men regarded as essential. Previ- 
ously, each of the commands in the United 
States — the Army Air Forces, the Army 
Ground Forces, and the Army Service 
Forces — had its own procedures for shift- 
ing enlisted personnel from one type of 
work to another. The ASF created three 
reassignment centers which received about 
23,000 persons between February and 
June 1944. Reassignments of some kind 
were found for all but about 1 ,000 of these. 
The operation ceased on 1 July 1944. 33 

Two new activities in the personnel field, 
started by the War Department after 1940, 
came under the ASF in 1942. One, origi- 
nally called morale services and later des- 
ignated information and education activi- 
ties, involved primarily an effort to 
maintain morale and to provide useful 
information. The media of communication 
ranged from a weekly newsmagazine, 
Tank, to motion pictures (the "Why We 
Fight" series), radio broadcasts, and book- 
lets about foreign lands. 34 Correspondence 
courses, discussion materials, and even- 
tually European schools for soldiers await- 
ing transportation home, were also parts of 
this program. Much of the material pro- 
duced in furtherance of this work was 
imaginative and marked by excellent 
craftsmanship. How effective it proved 
was always uncertain. Soldiers' attitudes 
were ascertained through questionnaires 
and the results used to determine policies. 

For example, the War Department scheme 
of discharges after V-E Day on a point sys- 
tem was devised after a survey of soldier 

The second activity was recreational, 
involving organized sports, motion pic- 
tures, USO shows for troop entertainment, 
books (specially printed pocket editions), 
musical materials and records, handicraft 
and art materials, and the management of 
post exchanges (the soldiers' general store). 

In February 1944 ASF headquarters 
established a personal affairs program to 
provide individual counseling to soldiers. 
The biggest single task was to make cer- 
tain that officers and enlisted men fully 
understood the arrangements for making 
allotments to dependents. Soldiers or their 
families also sought advice about insurance 
and bond matters, employment, housing, 
maternity and medical care, and death 
benefits. Personal affairs officers and their 
assistants not only provided a central 
source of information for those needing 
help but were also expected to help make 
arrangements to insure that the necessary 
aid was actually provided, 35 

In connection with this program, a 
Women's Volunteer Committee, national 
in scope, was established to promote the 
participation of Army wives and others in 
Army welfare activities. Women were en- 
couraged to volunteer their services to the 
American Red Cross and Gray Ladies. 
Others worked directly with the Army 
Emergency Relief Fund and with personal 
affairs officers in visiting the homes of sol- 

32 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 107. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1944, p. 203. 

'* Ltr, Brig Gen Frederick H. Osborn to Somervell, 
15 Jun 42, Hq ASF, Morale Svs, 1941-44. 

as There is a collection of interesting letters, mostly 
by soldiers, in a small file in Hq ASF, Personal Affairs 
Division, 1944. 



diers' families when children were born, 
when there was an illness or other emer- 
gency, and when word of overseas death 
was received. 36 

ASF Relations WithG-1 

The Personnel Division of the War De- 
partment General Staff, G-l, was respon- 
sible for over-all policy, but the actual 
administration of most War Department 
central personnel policies was in the hands 
of the Army Service Forces." It was inevi- 
table, perhaps, that the ASF should regard 
its personnel responsibilities somewhat dif- 
ferently from its duties with respect to pro- 
curement and supply. General Somervell 
tended to give more attention to procure- 
ment and supply matters than to personnel 
administration, since the former seemed 
always more crucial. In fact the assign- 
ment of extensive personnel operating 
duties to the ASF had not been a part of 
the reorganization which Somervell had 
himself desired. To a real extent, the Per- 
sonnel Division of the WDGS (G-l) re- 
mained the top planning unit on personnel 
matters, and ASF personnel officials 
closely consulted G-l about all personnel 
policies. The ASF director of personnel, 
Maj. Gen. Joseph N. Dalton, therefore did 
not exercise the control over personnel 
matters that General Clay did over pro- 
curement activities or General Lutes over 
supply matters. 

The close relationship between G-l and 
ASF was formalized when on 4 April 1945 
the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-l, sent a 
memorandum to the War Department 
Deputy Chief of Staff entitled "Personnel 
Operating Responsibilities of Military 
Personnel Division, Army Service Forces." 
This memorandum reiterated that the 
Military Personnel Division, ASF, would 

be the operating arm for G-l on all ques- 
tions involving military personnel through- 
out the Military Establishment. 

In a memorandum on 29 June 1945, the 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G- 1 , informed the 
Commanding General, ASF, of the mili- 
tary functions, Army-wide in scope, which 
were being delegated to him, subject to 
WDGS policies. The delegated functions 
included a wide variety of duties, among 
which were the preparation of legislation 
and executive orders affecting military 
personnel, staff supervision of the natural- 
ization of worthy aliens serving in the 
armed forces, the operation of War De- 
partment personnel centers, the processing 
of prisoners of war, War Department liai- 
son with the national headquarters of the 
Selective Service System, and the prepara- 
tion of recommended changes in personnel 
policies and procedures. 38 

In effect this memorandum restated the 
existing operating duties of the ASF. It 
served primarily as a reminder to both the 
Army Ground Forces and the Army Air 
Forces that the ASF was the central per- 
sonnel agency for the War Department 
and that as such, it was expected to take 
the lead in this field. This memorandum 
was welcome to the ASF. It confirmed that 
G-l would confine itself to review of per- 
sonnel administration by the ASF and 
would not try to duplicate activities which 
the ASF was prepared to perform. The 
ASF felt that this memorandum made for 
continued harmonious relations with the 
Personnel Division of the War Department 
General Staff. 

:l " Plan of Org for Women's Volunteer Com, proba- 
bly Apr-May 44, Hq ASF, Personal Affairs Div, 1944. 

,7 AR 10-15, 13Jul 42. 

Memo, CG ASF, 29 Jun 45, sub: Delegation of 
Pers Functions to Military Pers Div, WD GAP 320, 



Police Activities, Internal Security, and Custody 
of Military Prisoners 

The Provost Marshal General, who 
became a part of the Army Service Forces 
in 1942, had three major responsibilities: 
the organization and training of military 
police units, the protection of vital mili- 
tary and industrial installations from sabo- 
tage, and the custody of prisoners of war. 
In 1942 the Provost Marshal General 
also began the task of supervising the re- 
cruitment and training of military govern- 
ment teams for service overseas. 

Military police personnel guarded mili- 
tary installations, apprehended soldiers 
"absent without leave," and patrolled 
trains and major cities to insure the proper 
behavior of soldiers. In the year ending 30 
June 1945, the Provost Marshal General 
investigated over 47,000 complaints of 
alleged criminal acts performed by mili- 
tary personnel within the country, about 
20 percent involving crimes against other 
persons, and about 80 percent crimes 
against property. 

Internal security operations were trou- 
blesome because the extent of military 
responsibility was not clearly defined. Of 
the Army's duty to insure the security of 
its own installations, there was no doubt. 
But there was uncertainty about what the 
Army should do to protect vital industrial 
properties, especially when local police 
forces and the Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation were on the job. As the war pro- 
gressed, the number of industrial plants 
whose security arrangements were in- 
spected by the ASF declined from a peak 
of 13,701 in May 1943 until by 30 June 
1945, only 698 remained. 39 Fortunately 
sabotage was never a great problem dur- 
ing World War II, partly because of the 
relatively small number of people inclined 

to be disloyal and partly because of the 
careful antisabotage precautions which 
were taken. 

The training of personnel for military 
government duties overseas created more 
than the usual number of difficulties, in- 
cluding controversies with other agencies 
in Washington. Army doctrine stipulated 
that military government was primarily 
responsible for preventing interference 
with military operations. But in attempt- 
ing to conform to this doctrine broadly in 
the Army's training program, Somervell 
was accused of trying to take over the 
duties of other American Government 
agencies. Then on other occasions, the 
ASF was accused of being indifferent to 
the need for reconstructing the civilian 
economy in occupied areas previously dev- 
astated by the enemy. The Army doc- 
trine just mentioned in general confined 
military government to those activities 
necessary to maintain order and public 

With mounting victories abroad, the 
custody of prisoners of war within the 
United States became a major task. By 30 
June 1944 there were about 200,000 Ger- 
man and Italian prisoners of war in the 
United States, and about 569 Japanese. A 
year later the number had increased to 
over 425,000, mostly Germans. 40 General 
Somervell insisted that these prisoners 
play a part in easing the manpower short- 
age, and he took pride in the fact that 
from 86 to 94 percent of all prisoners of 
war were usefully employed. 41 

Beginning in the autumn of 1944, the 

39 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 273. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 275; CD, ASF, 
Statistical Review, World War 11, p. 159. 

41 WD PW Cir 5, 18 Jan 44, DRB AGO, RG 209, 
Governing PW's Misc; Memo, USW for SW, 26 Sep 
44, sub: Importation of Additional PWs, DRB AGO, 
RG 104, USW 383.6 (9-26-44) (1). 



custody of American military prisoners 
came under the jurisdiction of The Adju- 
tant General, who supervised rehabilita- 
tion centers and disciplinary barracks, the 
two types of Army penal institutions where 
military prisoners convicted by courts 
martial served their sentences. The Under 
Secretary of War named a board of prom- 
inent penologists to advise in this work. 
Any military prisoners not guilty of a capi- 
tal offense or certain other major crimes 
might be sent to a rehabilitation center 
where an effort was made through rigor- 
ous training and psychological guidance 
to restore men to military duty. Of the 
34,209 prisoners admitted to rehabilita- 
tion centers during the war, about 13,940 
were restored to military duty and 10,562 
were sent on to disciplinary barracks to 
serve out their sentences. By the end of the 
war, the numbers held in disciplinary bar- 
racks (penitentiaries) had reached 13,- 
468. 42 

Legal Activities 

The Judge Advocate General was the 
legal officer of the War Department. 
Throughout the war his major responsi- 
bility was the supervision of the system of 
military justice. His office received the 
records of all general courts martial held 
in the United States — some 18,000 in the 
year ending 30 June 1945. 43 Boards of re- 
view, established overseas, studied the rec- 
ords of general courts in their respective 
areas. Cases were also reviewed to deter- 
mine the desirability of clemency. A spe- 
cial effort was made to cut the time lag 
between the specification of charges 
against an officer or enlisted man and the 
conclusion of his trial. 44 Secretary Stimson 
and Under Secretary Patterson took a 
great interest in all aspects of military jus- 
tice, and sought, through review of cases, 

to prevent malfunctioning of the system. 
During the war the Judge Advocate Gen- 
eral's office reviewed a total of 67,318 
cases. 45 

The Judge Advocate General's office 
studied all legislation pending in Congress 
affecting the Army, and prepared written 
opinions on all legal matters on which the 
War Department General Staff or any of 
the three commands sought advice. This 
office also handled tort claims against the 
Army, tax problems of Army procure- 
ment, land and patent law matters, and a 
variety of other legal matters. In Septem- 
ber 1944 the Judge Advocate General, 
upon the direction of the Secretary of War, 
began preparations for the trial of enemy 
individuals charged with cruelties, atroc- 
ities, and acts of oppression against mem- 
bers of the armed forces. Also, the Judge 
Advocate General took the lead in behalf 
of the United States Government in pre- 
paring evidence on war crimes after the 
creation of the United Nations War 
Crimes Commission in London.' 16 

Fiscal Activities 

The Chief of Finance was the War De- 
partment's disbursing and accounting 
agent, and in addition, was responsible for 
a number of other financial services which 
had grown up in the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War. With the reorganization 
in 1942, all financial activities were con- 
solidated within the Army Service Forces. 

An important fiscal problem through- 

41 CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II, pp. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 265. 

41 Memo, Maj Gen George Grunert to Somervell, 
12 Apr 43, sub: Resume . . . of Military Justice, Hq 
ASF, JAG, 1942-44. 

" CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II, p. 156. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, pp. 265-70. 



out the war was to insure that War De- 
partment obligations were promptly and 
accurately paid. In the month of June 
1945, for example, the Army paid 940,000 
commercial invoices and had only a back- 
log of seven days' bills at the end of the 
month. Another 1,100,000 bills for com- 
mon carriers were paid in that month for 
the transportation of troops or war sup- 
plies. None of the bills unpaid at the end 
of the month had been on hand for more 
than twelve days. In one year, the War 
Department, in paying its various obliga- 
tions, issued more than 130 million 
checks. 47 

As troops arrived overseas in increasing 
numbers, two new problems appeared. 
One was to devise a method of handling 
foreign currency that would enable the 
Army to pay for local purchases. The 
other was to find a way to discourage in- 
dividual soldiers from obtaining local cur- 
rency with American dollars. Troops were 
urged to send more money home, to save 
through deposit accounts paying 4 percent 
interest, or to buy savings bonds. Through 
these measures, it was estimated that the 
amount available to military personnel 
overseas for making local purchases was 
reduced to about 15 percent of total pay. 48 
Moreover, special currency was devised 
for soldiers to use in post exchanges and in 
paying military bills. This currency was 
useless to local inhabitants. 

The Office of Dependency Benefits be- 
came one of the big operations of the 
Army Service Forces. This office, located 
in Newark, New Jersey, kept control rec- 
ords on all family allowances (for the sup- 
port of dependents of enlisted men going 
overseas) and family allotments (volun- 
tary assignment of officers' and enlisted 
men's pay to dependents). Under the fam- 
ily allowance program, the government 

contributed about two dollars to every one 
by a soldier up to a maximum of about 
$60.00 a month. By June 1945 there were 
4 million family allowance accounts and 
3.8 million family allotment accounts. The 
speedy payment of these obligations was a 
vital morale factor, and even at the risk of 
overpayment and duplication, these 
checks were mailed promptly. 49 

Payroll deductions from civilian and 
military payrolls for the purchase of war 
bonds, adequate banking facilities for 
civilian and military personnel, the careful 
examination of all disbursements, the 
management of nearly 7 billion dollars in 
advance payments to contractors and of 
another 7.6 billion dollars in guaranteed 
loans from banks, the auditing of termi- 
nated contracts, property accountability — 
these were just some of the fiscal problems 
of the ASF. 

Among the deductions from military 
pay handled by the Army were premium 
payments for National Service Life Insur- 
ance administered by the Veterans Ad- 
ministration. Every officer and enlisted 
man in the armed forces was entitled to 
term life insurance up to a total amount of 
$10,000. The ASF urged every inductee 
to purchase the full $10,000 policy. Gen- 
eral Somervell believed that this insurance 
should be compulsory, but he was never 
able to persuade the War Department 
General Staff to agree. 50 

The ASF Fiscal Director, General Car- 
ter, convinced Somervell that since the 

47 Ibid., pp. 259-60. 

,8 Ibid., p. 263; Memo, Somervell to SW, 18 Jul 42, 
sub: Currency for Use in Invaded Countries, Hq ASF, 

Memo, Maj Gen Arthur H. Carter to Somervell, 
29Jan 44, Hq ASF, Fiscal, 1942-44; Annual Rptof 
ASF, 1945, p. 261. 

ao Memo, Somervell to CofS, 3 Jul 43, sub: Pro- 
posed Revision of National Service Life Insurance 
Program, Hq ASF, Fiscal 1942-44. 



government assumed administrative costs, 
the rates on National Service Life Insur- 
ance were too high. New mortality tables 
had been adopted by private insurance 
companies, while the Veterans Adminis- 
tration ignored the new data on the in- 
creased life span. General Somervell for- 
warded this information to the General 
Staff with a strong recommendation for 
remedial action which would have re- 
duced the average monthly cost of a 
$10,000 policy from $6.95 to $2.25. The 
Personnel Division of the WDGS on 3 
February 1944 opposed the recommenda- 
tion. Finally, Secretary Stimson on 27 
April 1944 signed a letter, drafted in the 
ASF, to the Veterans Administration sug- 
gesting the distribution of premium divi- 
dends to all policy holders. Administrator 
Hines replied to the Secretary on 1 2 May, 
agreeing that arrangements should be 
made for dividend payments and outlin- 
ing the policies his office would follow in 
making such payments. But the letter said 
nothing about when dividend payments 
would begin. 51 Somervell thereupon wrote 
a memorandum for the files — the only 
time in his nearly four years as com- 
manding general of the ASF that he ever 
wrote this type of document — stating that 
the action taken by General Hines did not 
remove the "abuse of premium rates 
greatly in excess of those which current 
actuarial tables provide." 52 Five years 
later, Somervell's position was substanti- 
ated when on 1 January 1950, the Veterans 
Administration began to pay dividends re- 
sulting from insurance premiums paid 
during World War II. 

Postal Service and Publications 

The Adjutant General operated the 
Army Postal Service, whose biggest prob- 

lem was the overseas delivery of mail to 
troops. In the months of March through 
June 1945, air mail expanded to 2 million 
pounds, while mail hauled by surface ships 
reached a peak of 1.7 million pounds in 
January 1945. Parcel post reached a peak 
of 1.7 million sacks in October 1944. 
V-mail, whereby letters were microfilmed 
and then reproduced at their destination, 
was especially advantageous in the early 
years of the war when airlift was scarce, 
but the volume declined as air-mail serv- 
ice became available. By April 1945 the 
average time for an air-mail letter to reach 
the European continent from any part of 
the United States was 10.2 days; for the 
South Pacific it was 7.3 days. 53 

The Adjutant General was also the cen- 
tral publications office of the War Depart- 
ment, publishing and distributing all 
kinds of War Department orders and in- 
structions, as well as Army manuals, the 
text books of military activities. Each 
month in the year ending 30 June 1945, 
the office handled an estimated 6,000 tons 
of forms and publications. The time re- 
quired to print and distribute this volume 
of matter, and the prevention of unduly 
large stockage at any one point or at any 
one time were continuing problems. 54 

The Management of Posts, Camps, and Stations 

Most of the activities just mentioned, 
and much supply work in the United States 

51 Memo, Carter to Somervell, 23 Dec 43, sub: Pro- 
posed Revision of National Service Life Insurance 
Program; Ltr, Somervell to Brig Gen Frank T. Hines, 
6 Feb 44 (ltr not sent — G-l did not concur); Memo, 
Somervell to Marshall, 9 Feb 44; Ltr, Gen F. T. Hines 
to SW, 12 May 44. All in Hq ASF, Fiscal, 1942-44. 

52 Memo, Somervell to file, 16 May 44, Hq ASF, 
Fiscal, 1942-44. 

5:1 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 281; CD, ASF, 
Statistical Review, World War II, p. 151. 
"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, pp. 285-88. 



focused upon the posts, camps, and sta- 
tions where troops were trained. The man- 
agement of these posts for the Army 
Ground Forces, and the supervision of cer- 
tain functions at air bases, fell to the Army 
Service Forces. Army posts were areas 
where transportation, communication, 
and other facilities had to be provided; 
hospitals, motion picture theaters, and 
post exchanges operated; supplies fur- 
nished to troops, publications distributed, 
chapel services conducted, and eventually, 
troops and trains moved to ports of em- 
barkation for shipment overseas. This 
housekeeping job in the United States was 
a major concern. 


The Army Service Forces was also, to a 
limited extent, a training command. The 
procurement, supply, and service duties of 
the ASF often obscured the fact that the 
command also trained individuals and 
troop units for overseas duties. The com- 
ponent services of the ASF, such as the 
Quartermaster Corps and the Ordnance 
Department, trained individual men for 
assignment to the quartermaster battal- 
ions and ordnance companies which were 
an integral part of a ground combat divi- 
sion. These services also trained individ- 
uals for assignment to similar duties for 
the Army Air Forces. In addition, each 
higher tactical command, such as a corps 
or particularly an army, had to have com- 
munications, transportation, motor main- 
tenance, medical, construction, and other 
service units. These units, as well as in- 
dividuals assigned to them, were trained 
by the ASF. 

More than this, each overseas theater 
as a whole had ports of debarkation, stor- 
age depots, medical facilities, financial 

offices, maintenance shops, communica- 
tions units, and recreational facilities. 
Theater commands needed units for 
guarding military prisoners and prisoners 
of war, units for construction and repair of 
military installations, units to operate or 
manage transportation, units to take care 
of records and general office management, 
units to handle the legal work of the over- 
seas command, chaplains, and others. Per- 
sonnel, both officer and enlisted, were 
trained to meet all of these needs in over- 
seas commands. In other words, the ASF 
had to train people to do, on a somewhat 
more limited scale for each overseas com- 
mand, the same services that the ASF per- 
formed within the United States for the 
War Department itself. 

When training statistics were first col- 
lected in January 1943, there were 519,000 
persons undergoing some form of instruc- 
tion at ASF installations. This number 
rose to a total of 700,000 in the month of 
September 1943 and then declined to a 
low of 207,000 in March 1945. Altogether, 
from the beginning of 1942 to the end of 
the war, some 6,000 troop units with a to- 
tal personnel of more than 1 ,000,000 men 
with more than 300,000 individual re- 
placements were trained and shipped 
overseas for supply and service activities 
within theaters of operation. 55 But in spite 
of this seemingly large total, the role of the 
ASF in this field was relatively small when 
compared to that of both the Army 
Ground Forces and the Army Air Forces. 

The Organization and Training Divi- 
sion, G-3 of the WDGS, provided the 
over-all supervision of training. Apart 
from General Somervell's constant con- 
cern about the insufficient number of sup- 

55 CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II, pp. 219, 
221, 223. 



ply troops available to perform the over- 
seas support operations, the ASF had few 
disputes with G-3 of the WDGS. Since a 
small part of the G-3 personnel had been 
transferred to the ASF at the time of the 
War Department reorganization, the ASF 
had to construct a training staff almost 
from scratch in 1942. These training re- 
sponsibilities tended to grow with the 
course of the war, but the personnel in 
charge found no difficulty in working 
closely with G-3. The quality of the train- 
ing staff within the Army Service Forces 
was such that General Somervell was con- 
tent largely to leave training problems to 
its discretion. This staff in turn, seldom 
embarked upon any new training policies 
without prior informal consultation with 

The ASF developed its own schedules 
for activating and training supply troops, 
and occasionally disagreed with the AGF 
about the division of training responsibil- 
ities between the two commands for sup- 
ply troops. 56 The ASF was ready to accept 
G-3 as arbitrator, and the resulting divi- 
sion of organization and unit training re- 
sponsibilities between the ASF and AGF 
was on the whole satisfactory to the ASF. 

Occasionally the ASF felt that G-3 was 
not sufficiently prompt in issuing revised 
military unit organization programs (the 
so-called troop basis), but recognized that 

the fault was not controllable by G-3. 
Every time a general change was made in 
the number of divisions, air groups, and 
nondivisional units to be organized, or in 
the size and internal organization of troop 
units, the Army Service Forces had to re- 
vise its procurement plans. Therefore, the 
ASF constantly sought to keep abreast of 
any changes in the thinking about troop 
organization and strength. G-3 was de- 
pendent in turn upon the strategic and 
tactical planning of the Operations Divi- 
sion of the War Department General Staff 
before it could introduce official changes 
in military organization. 

No summary can give adequate atten- 
tion to the multitude of problems which 
arose in the service activities of the Army 
Service Forces. But it is important to un- 
derstand that the ASF had many respon- 
sibilities extending well beyond the pro- 
curement and distribution of supplies and 
the operation of a transportation system. 
It was a cardinal element of General 
Somervell's thinking at all times that the 
ASF was a service command of the Army, 
and that its role had to be understood in 
terms of the ramifications of its many and 
widely varied duties. 

56 This controversy and its solution is discussed in 
Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, The Procurement and Train- 
ing of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 504-07. 


The ASF and the OPD 

The Army Service Forces had many 
disagreements with the Operations Divi- 
sion of the War Department General Staff. 
It was in essence a jurisdictional conflict, a 
type of conflict that commonly serves as 
the theme of administrative history. Con- 
troversy might have been averted had 
both the OPD and the ASF interpreted 
their responsibilities narrowly. Theoreti- 
cally, a jurisdictional boundary might 
have been drawn between them by 
distinguishing policy from operation and 
strategy from logistics. But such a bound- 
ary is vague and ill-defined, and since 
both organizations were aggressively led 
by men who were determined to do their 
jobs well, friction was inevitable. Jurisdic- 
tional border raiding during a great war 
may appear unseemly, but in spite of this 
rivalry, or perhaps because of it, both 
OPD and ASF met their responsibilities 

Specifically, the principal controversies 
were ( 1 ) over the problem of exchanging 
information on strategy and logistics, and 
over the time factor in logistical planning; 
(2) over the feeling by each organization 
that the other was assuming responsibil- 
ities not properly its own, particularly in 
handling details of overseas supply; (3) 
over relative merits and uses of weapons, 
particularly antiaircraft artillery and 
heavy guns; and most serious of all (4) 
over the representation of the ASF in the 
committee system of the Joint Chiefs of 

Staff. In order to understand the issues 
more clearly it is necessary to examine the 
role of the Chief of Staff and the Oper- 
ations Division under the War Depart- 
ment reorganization of 9 March 1942. 
The reorganization was not intended to 
diminish the essential authority of the 
General Staff as the top command of the 
Army. The revised army regulations is- 
sued in July 1942 made it clear that the 
Chief of Staff of the War Department was 
"the executive" through whom the Presi- 
dent in his role as Commander in Chief 
exercised his responsibilities for deciding 
basic military issues. In addition, the Chief 
of Staff was the "immediate adviser" to 
the Secretary of War and responsible to 
him for planning and executing the mili- 
tary program. 1 Thus the reorganization 
had not diminished the importance of the 
Chief of Staff: he remained the top profes- 
sional military leader of the Army. The 
WDGS continued to be his immediate, 
personal organization. 

At the same time, the reorganization 
had made some change in the scope of 
work performed by the General Staff. The 
revised regulation stated that the staff 
would make "such broad basic plans and 
policies" as would enable the command- 
ing generals of the Air Forces, the Ground 
Forces, the Service Forces, and of the thea- 
ters of operations to prepare and execute 

l AR 10-15, 13 Jul 42. 



detailed programs. The regulation made 
the implied limitation even more explicit 
by saying that while the General Staff 
would "supervise" the execution of pro- 
grams, it was not to engage in administra- 
tive duties or in operations "for the perform- 
ance of which any agency exists." 2 Accord- 
ingly, the General Staff was to remain on 
a high level of policy making and super- 
vision, while the maximum amount of 
detailed planning and administration was 
left to the major commands of the Army, 
three in the United States and others over- 
seas. It was the interpretation of this 
division of responsibility that was to be- 
come a chief source of dispute. 

The most important single unit of the 
General Staff throughout World War II 
was the Operations Division. Its function, 
succinctly described in the official state- 
ment of July 1942, was to perform "those 
duties of the War Department General 
Staff which relate to the formulation of 
plans and strategic direction of the mili- 
tary forces in the theater of war." By vir- 
tue of this authority, the OPD has been 
characterized as the command post of the 
Chief of Staff during World War II. Of the 
five sections of the General Staff, it was the 
only one which, after the reorganization, 
retained a large number of officials on the 
policy making level. Its staff of more than 
three hundred civilian and military per- 
sonnel was twice as large as the total staffs 
of G-l, G-2, G-3, and G-4 combined. 
The division was ably led, first by Gen- 
eral Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then in 
turn by Generals Thomas T. Handy and 
John E. Hull. 3 

The Army Service Forces was supposed 
to receive from the Operations Division all 
the information it needed relating to stra- 
tegic plans. The ASF believed that the 
Army Supply Program, the basis of all its 

procurement effort, could be computed 
accurately only if it knew in advance 
where and when military operations were 
to take place. The supply planners of the 
ASF, moreover, constantly worked with 
the OPD on preparations for the move- 
ment of men and supplies overseas. 

This brings us to the first source of fric- 
tion. Difficulty developed because of the 
feeling in the ASF that the OPD was not 
sufficiently aware of the length of time 
needed for the purchase, delivery, and 
transportation of military supplies. As 
already indicated, the ASF either sought 
to push the OPD into strategic and tacti- 
cal commitments, or to make its own 
recommendations for military operations, 
based on estimated supply capabilities. 4 

The kind of difficulty which arose is 
illustrated in the preparations for Torch, 
the invasion of North Africa. From a sup- 
ply point of view, the entire operation was 
a nightmare. A final decision to launch an 
attack on North Africa was not made until 
the end of July with a target date less than 
three months later. Anticipating such an 
invasion, Generals Somervell and Lutes 
had begun to prepare for it even before the 
decision was made. In this the ASF re- 
ceived little guidance from OPD. As late 
as 6 September 1942, just two months be- 
fore the invasion force landed, the ASF 
had still to learn what units were scheduled 
to sail from the United States and on what 
dates; whether any units sailing from the 
United Kingdom were to be supplied from 
the United States and when; what special 
equipment and supplies were necessary for 
the force sailing from the United States, 
and whether these supplies were to be 

2 Ibid. The italics are the author's. 

3 Cline, Washington Command Post, Ch. XI; Min, 
WD Gen Coun cil. 19 M ay 42. 

4 See above, |Ch. U\\ 



combat loaded; what the special supply 
requirements were for the task forces sail- 
ing from the United Kingdom; the size of 
the force which would eventually be 
moved from the United Kingdom to 
North Africa; and finally, the objectives 
to be assigned General Patton's force. The 
ASF had to know all this in order to esti- 
mate shipping requirements for troops and 
military equipment. 5 

The Army Service Forces did not re- 
ceive a clear-cut reply to the questions 
thus posed, simply because at this time 
there were no answers. President Roose- 
velt and Prime Minister Churchill had 
agreed on the North African campaign on 
24 July. Planning took place in both 
Washington and London, and General 
Handy of the Operations Division had to 
fly to London in mid-August to keep his 
own division posted. 8 It was not until early 
September that even the main outlines of 
the operation were set; by 6 September 
OPD was therefore not yet in a position to 
provide Somervell with the specific infor- 
mation requested by him. Torch became 
a kind of symbol to the ASF of the plight 
it would constantly be finding itself in if 
strategic decisions were not made well in 
advance of actual operations, and ample 
time afforded for logistical preparations. 

On 20 July 1943, General Somervell 
asked the Chief of Staff for guidance on 
supply questions. Under the heading of 
current problems he listed frequent shifts 
in plans involving the transfer of large 
numbers of men and supplies, uncertainty 
about the cross-Channel operation, and 
the advancing tempo of operations in the 
Pacific. He also inquired whether the 
build-up of troops and supplies in Eng- 
land was to be continued; whether there 
was some expectation of moving from 
Italy into France or Austria; and whether 

preparations for military operations in the 
Pacific should be accelerated. 

Next, taking up long-range problems, 
Somervell argued that the Army Service 
Forces needed more detailed information 
about joint strategy, as, for example, the 
timetable for the redeployment of troops 
to the Pacific after the defeat of Germany, 
and the approximate scale of the redeploy- 
ment. This information was needed in the 
revision of the Army Supply Program for 
the calendar year 1944, and for the formu- 
lation of at least a part of the production 
program for 1945. Somervell also pointed 
out that while, for the remainder of 1943 
and all of 1944, shipping capacity was in 
balance with the procurement program, in 
1945 more shipping would be available 
than military equipment. The question 
was, should present supply and snipping 
schedules be reduced accordingly; or 
should the supply program for 1945 be 
increased to take care of possible relief 

Finally, General Somervell asked for 
more detailed information about the forth- 
coming operations against Japan. What 
would be the character and magnitude of 
operations on the mainland of China? 
How large an army would be required in 
the Pacific? To what extent would supplies 
still be provided the Russians after the de- 
feat of Germany? In what parts of the 
Pacific would the major operations take 
place? And more specifically, was an op- 
eration based on Alaska still contem- 
plated? 7 

s Somervell for Handy, 6 Sep 42, sub: Spec Opn, 
Hq ASF, Folder ACofS OPD. 

6 Handy (in England) to Marshall, 22 Aug 42, 

' Memo, Somervell for CofS, 20 Jul 43, sub: Plan- 
ning, Hq ASF. This memorandum was drafted by the 
Planning Division under General Lutes, the office 
most closely and continuously working with the OPD. 



This memorandum was one of several 
similar reminders to the OPD that the 
Army Service Forces had to have informa- 
tion about military operations in advance 
if it was to plan its own work with accu- 
racy and with a minimum of expense and 
waste motion. But again, the OPD was 
scarcely in a position to respond in detail. 
Military plans were too uncertain to ena- 
ble it to supply the definite information he 
sought. While General Somervell appre- 
ciated these difficulties he felt it necessary 
to impress the needs of the ASF upon 
OPD, and to point out once more the 
close relationship between supply activities 
and strategic planning. The Operations 
Division, on the other hand, was already 
familiar with these problems, and Somer- 
vell's not-too-gentle reminders had the 
effect of opening up old wounds. 

The claim that procurement and sup- 
ply activities required a precise and early 
knowledge of strategy may at times have 
appeared unwarranted. Divisions were 
equipped under fairly standardized tables 
of allowances calculated to meet general 
rather than specific needs. There was a 
danger too that early strategic commit- 
ments might destroy the element of sur- 
prise and might even prevent the full ex- 
ploitation of unexpected opportunities. No 
strategic planner could overlook the possi- 
bility of a "break," even if he dared not 
definitely count on one. Nor could he 
overlook the possibility of unforeseen set- 
backs. The strategic planners of World 
War II wanted sufficient supplies of all 
kinds to meet any strategic change. They 
were wary of production schedules geared 
closely to inflexible strategic concepts. 
Some War Department officers felt that 
maximum over-all production should be 
undertaken and that procurement plans 
should not wait for a fully developed stra- 

tegic concept with a detailed plan for 
troop deployment. 8 

The ASF did not share this point of 
view. For one thing, standardized troop 
equipment tables were not an adequate 
guide for procurement. They did not take 
into sufficient account such variables as 
where and when the troops would fight, 
and in what numbers. The kind of cloth- 
ing provided troops destined for England 
and northern Europe had to be very dif- 
ferent from the clothing for troops fighting 
in the Pacific. Climatic conditions made 
substantial differences in the demands for 
waterproofing and other preservative ma- 
terials, not to mention medical supplies. 
Then too, the availability and condition of 
overseas port facilities, roads, railways, 
utility systems, and similar considerations 
made a great deal of difference in the 
procurement of construction supplies. 

Furthermore, in an economy which ap- 
parently was straining to meet war pro- 
duction needs and whose civilian admin- 
istrators were inclined to be critical of 
"excessive" Army requirements, General 
Somervell could scarcely accept a concept 
of "maximum over-all production." This 
latter idea suggested a vast supply pool on 
which the strategic planners would draw 
as the occasion required. General Somer- 
vell wanted a procurement program cal- 
culated reasonably well to meet specific 
supply demands. He abhorred the possi- 
bility of waste under the other arrange- 
ment, knowing full well that criticism 
growing out of the accumulation of large 
stores of unused military supplies would 
eventually be directed at him, not at the 
strategic planners. 

8 Memo, Aurand for Moore, 10 Nov 41, sub: 
Method of Properly Financing Victory Program, 
DAD Procedure 1, LL; Memo, Aurand for Clay, 18 
Jun 42, sub: Basis for Present Programs, Intn Div 334, 
MAB, Vol. I. 



The North African campaign, begun in 
November 1942, suffered too well the con- 
sequences of tardy preparation. It is illus- 
trated by the story of the 829th Signal 
Service Company which has been told 
under the apt title, "Case History in Con- 
fusion." The company was made up of 
carefully selected personnel and, under 
terrific pressure from the beginning, it was 
subjected to a confusing volley of contra- 
dictory and supplementary orders, that 
made fulfillment of its mission impossible. 
Somervell, in explaining the subsequent 
failure of this as well as other units, attrib- 
uted it to "the difficulty in obtaining 
authorization for such units in adequate 
time to give them the necessary training." 9 

General Somervell wished to be 
promptly and thoroughly informed about 
everything that was going on. When he 
found, for example, that certain memo- 
randa announcing decisions or instructions 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were being with- 
held, he requested that all secret papers 
which might require planning or action by 
the Army Service Forces be sent to him. 
In the case of the particular memoranda 
just referred to, he wished to learn the 
strategic concept for the year of 1943, add- 
ing significantly that he believed that 
nearly all matters of strategy would re- 
quire action on the part of at least some of 
the agencies of the ASF. 10 

To this problem of providing early in- 
formation on strategic plans to the logisti- 
cal staffs, no clear or wholly satisfactory 
solution was ever worked out. A great 
many factors had to be taken into consid- 
eration such as, for example, the experi- 
ence and size of the organizations involved. 
Unquestionably, the ASF did not get 
nearly enough time to prepare for the in- 
vasion of North Africa or for many other 

In those instances when information 
was provided well in advance, results were 
gratifying. By being present at the Casa- 
blanca Conference, Somervell learned im- 
mediately of the decision to undertake the 
invasion of Sicily, and so was able to ad- 
vise General Lutes what to expect. Indeed, 
General Lutes' own diary reveals that by 
3 February 1943, long before the Tunisian 
campaign itself was even well begun, he 
was estimating the number and capacity 
of the landing craft and the combat- 
loaded transports which would have to sail 
from the United States to land on the 
shores of Sicily; by the first of March, he 
had prepared timetables covering a period 
up to the end of May for convoys carry- 
ing necessary supplies. 11 As the war pro- 
gressed, the Operations Division and the 
ASF worked together more efficiently, but 
the dispute over the time factor in logisti- 
cal planning continued throughout the 
war. Another source of difference between 
the ASF and the OPD was the conviction 
that OPD was encroaching on ASF pre- 
rogatives, particularly in the handling of 
the details of overseas supply. According 
to the Army Service Forces, the OPD 
often handled details which bogged it 
down and created supply bottlenecks. For 
example, General MacArthur in the sum- 
mer of 1942 sent a radiogram asking in- 
formation about certain types of jungle 
clothing and equipment. Because of the 
nature of OPD's relationship with the the- 
aters, it was technically within its rights 
when it decided to handle this matter. But 
ASF officers felt that this was really a sup- 
ply problem and that unless the request 
raised questions of high policy, OPD 

9 Cline, Washington Command Post, Ch. X, p. 186. 

10 Memo, Somervell for Intn Secretariat of JCS, 24 
Dec 42, Lutes File. 

11 Lutes' diary, Lutes File. 



should have turned it over to ASF 12 Serv- 
ice Forces people felt the same resentment 
when the Operations Division intervened 
in a routine memo dealing with require- 
ments for automotive spare parts. 13 

The ASF objected on much the same 
grounds when OPD passed on the qualifi- 
cations of supply officers selected by the 
ASF to fill overseas positions. "This of- 
fice," Somervell tartly asserted, "will not 
refer the selection of service staff officers to 
your office for approval in the future." In 
the same memo he also took issue with 
OPD action disapproving arrangements 
to organize an engineer regiment in Egypt. 
The ASF had recommended that a civil- 
ian construction contract be terminated 
and that its work be done by an engineer 
regiment to be formed from personnel 
in the Middle East. The OPD sent out 
contrary orders. The exchange of mes- 
sages with the Middle East Command 
dragged on for over a month, involving, as 
General Somervell observed, "an inex- 
cusable waste of time." He continued: "I 
am sure that inefficiency will result in the 
event that junior officers in OPD continue 
to interfere with matters of supply." 14 

A few days later, General Somervell 
wrote another sharp memorandum to the 
Operations Division on troop require- 
ments for the Northwest Service Com- 
mand. 15 And after a lapse of three more 
days, he again took issue with OPD over 
its disapproval of the assignment of an 
Army music band to the Persian Gulf 
Command. In justification of the assign- 
ment Somervell remarked, "There is ab- 
solutely no form of recreation in the 
isolated and depressing spots where a 
great many of this command must work," 
and concluded that the "band will do no 
good in the United States and as long as 
it exists, we might as well put it in a the- 

ater where we can get some results from 
it." On the copy of this memorandum, 
when it was returned by OPD, was a 
penciled remark, "Reported band on way. 
Do you want two?" 16 

These disputes in themselves were 
trivial. But it was just because they were 
so trivial that General Somervell objected 
to OPD's intervention. A basic motive of 
the reorganization of March 1942 was to 
relieve the Chief of Staff of unnecessary 
administrative burdens, and now the Op- 
erations Division as the Chief of Staffs 
own staff seemed to go out of its way to en- 
ter into the pettiest kind of detail. Not only 
the ASF, but the Air Forces as well, 
complained of this situation. 17 

On the other hand, the OPD had the 
major responsibility of supporting the 
theaters of operations. It is a natural tend- 
ency for hard-working, energetic indi- 
viduals to be reluctant to delegate au- 
thority because they feel they themselves 
could do the job better than someone else. 
OPD, understandably, in carrying out its 
major responsibility, did not always draw 
a fine jurisdictional boundary line. In fact, 
many of the specific interventions into 
detail about which the ASF grumbled 
could be justified on the grounds of emer- 
gency, or that they were loose ends of a 
larger transaction handled in OPD, or 
that they were unique, or that they were 

12 Memo, Lutes, 12 Sep 42, Lutes File. 

13 Memo, Lutes for Handy, ACofS OPD, 1 Jul 43, 
Lutes File. 

11 Memo, Somervell for Handy, 24 Feb 43, Hq 
ASF, Folder ACofS OPD. 

15 Memo, Somervell to Handy, 26 Feb 43, Hq ASF, 
Folder ACofS OPD. 

16 Memo, Somervell for Handy, 1 Mar 43, Hq ASF, 
Folder ACofS OPD. Incidentally, only by strenuous 
efforts on the part of the officers at the New York 
Port of Embarkation did the band obtain its instru- 
ments before it sailed^ 

See below, Chs. VIIllfXLl 



part of OPD's policy-making functions. 

Another of the important points of con- 
flict between ASF and the OPD stemmed 
from a difference of opinion over the best 
use of certain weapons, particularly anti- 
aircraft artillery and heavy guns. 18 Gen- 
eral Somervell belonged to the group that 
believed in more antiaircraft protection for 
troops. There was a great deal of support 
in the War Department for this point of 
view. 19 General McNair of the Army 
Ground Forces was one of the leaders of 
an opposing group. McNair believed that 
manpower and materiel ought not be di- 
verted into purely defensive operations. 
He objected to the defensive psychology 
and the loss of mobility caused by added 
equipment. Antiaircraft fire was impor- 
tant when the enemy commanded the air, 
he argued, but since it was expected that 
Allied planes would dominate the sky, 
Allied antiaircraft guns would be largely 
unnecessary. 20 The Operations Division 
went along with McNair's arguments. In 
his protest, Somervell wrote to the OPD 
that "the action taken by the Department 
in reference to antiaircraft protection is a 
short-sighted one," and he suggested that 
"General McNair be directed to spend 
two weeks at the front under aircraft at- 
tack to see if this changes his ideas. If after 
this stay he is still of the opinion that there 
should be no antiaircraft weapons as a 
part of the organic equipment of a divi- 
sion, I will withdraw my position." 21 The 
course of events, on the whole, seemed to 
support McNair's stand. 22 

General Somervell took an equally 
strong stand on the use of heavy artillery. 
He expressed the opinion that when the 
time came to crack the defenses of Bizerte 
and Tunis or any pill box and masonry 
fortifications, field commanders would be 
pleased to have weapons of 90-mm. cali- 

ber or better. "It seems inexcusable for 
us," he wrote, "to have in arsenals in this 
country weapons of heavier caliber which 
are not being used because of some techni- 
cal theory or because the theater com- 
mander has not thought to ask for 
them." 23 

As a matter of fact, the calibers and 
quantities of heavy artillery were a source 
of disagreement between the ASF and the 
Army Ground Forces, with OPD inci- 
dentally involved. The AGF was reluctant 
to commit itself to the use of heavy artil- 
lery pieces which might delay rapid 
maneuver of troops. The Ordnance De- 
partment, on the other hand, was eager to 
build heavier calibers in artillery and to 
provide larger quantities of ammunition 
than the Ground Forces and even overseas 
theaters had first recommended. Indeed, 
requirements for heavy artillery appeared 
in the Victory Program of 1941 and in 
later Army Supply Programs. The Ord- 
nance Department was by no means un- 

18 On one occasion, Somervell complained that the 
OPD had not forwarded a message on these subjects 
to General Eisenhower. This message, prepared in 
the Ordnance Department, was, in Somervell's opin- 
ion, so important that he had presented it personally 
to General Marshall. He now requested that Eisen- 
hower also be informed of its contents immediately. 
The implication was that the OPD, in trying to put 
across its own viewpoint, deliberately withheld op- 
posing arguments from the proper policy-making 
authorities. Memo, Somervell to Handy, 1 3 Mar 43, 
Hq ASF. 

18 Memo, Devers for CofS, 1 Nov 42, sub: Gen 
McNair's and Col Feller's Comments, AGF 354.218 
(Desert); Memo, USW for CG AGF, 18 May 42, sub: 
AA Protection for Infantry Divs, AGF 321/78. 

20 Memos, McNair for SW, 13 May, 29 Jul 42; 
Memo, McNair for SW, 1 7 Feb 43, sub: Gen Dever's 
Rpt 400/4, AGF 321/78 CAC. 

21 Memo, cited in n. 18. 

' 22 Somervell later regretted the hasty comment that 
McNair would change his view if subjected to the 
perils of combat. McNair was wounded in Tunisia 
in 1943 and killed in Normandy in 1944 while ob- 
serving front-line action. 
23 Memo, cited in n. 18. 



mindful of the requirements of mobility, 
but believed that even heavy pieces of ar- 
tillery could be mounted on self-propelled 
carriages or tanks or pulled with some 
rapidity by heavy tractors. First in Italy 
and later in France and on the German 
border, the Army was grateful that it had 
heavier and heavier artillery available. 24 
This time events supported Somervell's 

Perhaps the principal source of friction 
between the ASF and OPD was the prob- 
lem which arose over the representation of 
the ASF in the committee system of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff. As time went on, the 
JCS became more and more important in 
the conduct of the war, and its committees 
and subcommittees tended to be the place 
where vital issues on military operations 
were discussed and resolved. During the 
first year of its existence, the JCS con- 
stantly increased the scope of its interests 
and the size of its machinery. The ASF 
contributed its share of influence in this 
direction, particularly in bringing to the 
attention of the JCS certain procurement 
and logistical problems. A case in point is 
when General Somervell in October 1942 
recommended that the War Production 
Board should ask the JCS to fix procure- 
ment limits for various military supply 
programs in the calendar year 1943. 25 In 
January 1943 he prepared a memorandum 
for the JCS reviewing the major categories 
of possible procurement for the year, and 
requesting a decision on whether these 
programs were to be considered as of 
equal priority or whether special empha- 
sis should be given to aircraft procure- 
ment, escort vessels, high octane gasoline, 
and synthetic rubber development. In the 
latter event, he stated, other military pro- 
grams, the Russian protocol commitments, 
and essential civilian supplies, would have 

to be carried along at a lower priority 
rate. 26 Such action on the part of the ASF 
tended to bring it within the scope of the 
JCS system. 

Although in other respects content with 
the joint committee system, Somervell felt 
strongly that the Army Service Forces 
should have a voice in that system. As 
G-4, following Pearl Harbor and the early 
phase of overseas deployment, he had 
played a prominent role in determining 
the use of shipping. When he took over 
command of the ASF, he wished to retain 
such influence for that agency. In this ef- 
fort he had a head-on collision with OPD, 
which wanted the ASF to provide logisti- 
cal advice, in a technical but not in a 
policy-making sense. In effect, the ASF 
was to speak only when spoken to. The 
nub of the issue was in the overlapping of 
the task of translating logistical data into 
strategic decisions with the task of trans- 
lating strategic decisions in their initial 
stages into logistical plans for supporting 
operations. 27 

The most important supporting com- 
mittee in the jCS system was the Joint 
Staff Planners (JPS). Its Army representa- 
tive was Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer 
of the Operations Division. Wedemeyer 
readily agreed with Somervell that logis- 
tics was basic to any plan and went so far 
as to quote from a British officer in Wash- 
ington who said that knowledge of logisti- 
cal possibilities was more important than 

24 Rpt of Spec Bd of Offs for CofS, 4 May 44, sub: 
Adequacy of FA Program and Doctrine, 320.2/12 
(Tub 44). 

86 See below, [p~?18] 

26 Memo for JCS, 4 Jan 43, sub: Production Prior- 
ities, Concurred in by Vice Adm. V. G. Home, Vice 

2T Cline, Washington Command Post, Ch. XIII, con- 
tains a detailed description of the system for joint 
strategic and joint logistic planning. 



understanding strategic possibilities. 28 But 
both he and the British members believed 
that logistical advisers should not be plan- 
ners as such; rather they ought to be tech- 
nical experts who would be called upon 
whenever the planners felt they needed 
advice. 29 In other words, the Operations 
Division attitude, as expressed by General 
Wedemeyer both in OPD and in the JPS, 
was that ASF technical and logistical data 
were both proper and desirable. But he 
believed that it was the business of the 
planners and not the Army Service Forces 
to interpret and use that data as they saw 
fit. Somervell did not accept this position. 
To him it seemed necessary and wise that 
the ASF participate in and help determine 
strategic decisions. In practice the ASF 
and its commander did influence strategy, 
largely through its determination of the 
logistical feasibility of Army plans. Yet 
General Somervell was never a member 
of the JCS. Unwilling to accept the posi- 
tion of a mere technical adviser, Somer- 
vell in September 1942 recommended the 
formation of a new joint committee to 
serve the Joint Chiefs of Staff as specialists 
in logistical planning. He argued that the 
Joint Staff Planners were ignorant of pro- 
curement and supply problems and their 
opinions were "predicated neither on 
knowledge nor experience." The new 
committee ought to be made up of himself 
and a Navy officer in a comparable posi- 
tion. Since both men would have large, ex- 
perienced staffs at their beck and call, the 
new committee could furnish reliable logis- 
tical advice quickly. 30 The experience of 
1942, both in the North African campaign 
and in the build-up of supplies in England 
for a cross-Channel operation, buttressed 
Somervell's arguments. The consequences 
of poor co-ordination in these operations 
was another grim reminder of the truism 

that logistics and strategy were inextric- 
ably intertwined. 

The Operations Division did not dis- 
pute Somervell's contention that much 
closer co-ordination between strategy and 
logistics must take place; but it did take 
issue with the manner in which Somervell 
proposed to bring it about. It opposed set- 
ting up a committee which could have di- 
rect contact with the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
and in effect bypass the JPS on many sub- 
jects. At that very time, the Joint Chiefe 
were considering the appointment of re- 
quirements representatives from the War 
and Navy Departments to advise the stra- 
tegic planners. OPD pushed this proposal 
as an alternative to Somervell's plan. 31 
Four War Department representatives 
were chosen, one of whom came from 
OPD and another from ASF. General 
Marshall asked Somervell whether he 
thought his proposed committee was still 
necessary. Somervell wrote his reply on 
Marshall's memo: "No Sir, not at present 
anyway." 32 

But the addition of requirements repre- 
sentatives was a makeshift which failed to 
achieve its purpose. The whole joint staff 
system was creaking badly, and the JCS 
was poorly served, particularly at the level 
of the JPS. The planners were busy men. 
They tried to do more than they could rea- 

28 Informal British paper, 19 Feb 43, title; Org for 
Joint Staff Planning, w/Memo for Info 48, ABC 
381 United Nations (23 Jan 42), 2. 

29 Paper, A. C. Wedemeyer, title: Comments on 
Gen Somervell's Memo to CofS Pertaining to Sup- 
porting Agencies of JCS (JCS 202/2), filed with JCS 
202/3, ABC 381 (1-29-42), 1. 

30 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 9 Sep 42, WDCSA 
334 JCS. 

31 Memo, OPD for CofS, 25 Oct 42, sub: Produc- 
tion Requirements Representatives, filed with JCS 
98/3/D, ABC 400 (6 Sep 42). 

32 Memo, Marshall for Somervell, 26 Oct 42, 



sonably be expected to do, and they made 
decisions in fields with which they were 
personally unfamiliar. They attempted to 
remedy the weakness by adding nonvoting 
members as in the case of the require- 
ments representatives, and by delegating 
their work to subordinates. 33 Their efforts 
failed. The woeful performance of the 
American joint system was evident at the 
Casablanca Conference where, in the 
opinion of many observers, the polished 
professional performance of the British 
joint staff made the Americans look like 
rank amateurs. 34 

In January 1943 the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
considered revamping their supporting 
committees. Somervell was attending the 
Casablanca Conference, and in his ab- 
sence, General Styer pushed the claim 
that ASF logistics specialists should have 
more representatives on the joint system. 35 
But the Army and Air Forces planners 
sought to reduce rather than increase the 
influence of the ASF. In streamlining the 
system, the Joint Staff Planners recom- 
mended that the Army representatives 
should come from the Air Forces and the 
Operations Division solely, and that an 
ASF representative be invited to attend 
meetings only when the others wished to 
get comments on problems with which the 
ASF might be specially concerned. Gen- 
eral Styer dissented sharply from this 
proposal. 39 

An even more extreme recommenda- 
tion by OPD involved the creation of a 
three-man Joint Administrative Commit- 
tee (JAC) without ASF representation. 
The word "administration" was used in 
the sense that the British used the term, as 
roughly equivalent to logistics. From this 
special logistics committee, according to 
the recommendation, the Army Service 
Forces would be excluded; the Army 

representative would come from the Op- 
erations Division, which had a small logis- 
tics unit of its own. The ASF representa- 
tion on joint staff committees would be 
limited to membership on technical com- 
mittees such as the Military Transporta- 
tion Committee, the Joint Communica- 
tions Committee, and others of a similar 
nature. 37 

On 27 March 1943, Somervell person- 
ally addressed a vigorous protest to Gen- 
eral Marshall on the proposed reorgani- 
zation of the supporting agencies of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff. He began his memo- 
randum with a first paragraph consisting 
of ten words: "I must ask your help on this 
most important matter." He explained 
that no one in the ASF had been consulted 
during the preparation of the recommen- 
dations and added that the paper was 
"tragic evidence of the lack of under- 
standing of its framers of logistics, and 
shows a faulty concept of the elementary 
principles of sound administration." If the 
proposals were to be adopted, it would 
"make it next to impossible to handle the 
supply and logistics of the Army on an ef- 
ficient basis." In his opinion the OPD pro- 
posal was "highly reactionary and a 
distinct step backwards." 

Somervell then commented upon the 
importance of logistical factors in deter- 
mining military strategy: "Owing to our 
exceptionally long supply lines, the loca- 
tion of our theaters of operations around 
the entire globe, and critical shortages in 
shipping, logistics are, in most cases, the 

33 Cline, Washington Command Post, Ch. XIII. 

34 Ibid., pp. 236-37, quoting hr, Wedemeyer to 
Handv, 22 Jan 43. 

3s Memo, Styer for DCofS, 22 Jan 43, sub: War 
Planning Agencies, WDCSA 334 JCS II. 

36 Memo, Styer for DCofS, sub: War Planning 
Agencies, Hq ASF. 

37 Ibid. 



final governing factors in decisions involv- 
ing action in the field. If this war has 
demonstrated anything, it has shown that 
our efforts to launch attacks on the enemy 
have, in every case, been governed by lo- 
gistics — transportation and supply. Where 
these factors have not been given due 
weight," the result has been "confusion, 
delay, and disaster." 

Somervell based a large part of his case 
on the unfamiliarity of OPD with the field 
of logistics; he reminded the Chief of Staff 
that before the ASF took part in the de- 
liberations of the Joint Staff Planners, 
many of the papers were "superficial." He 
cited as examples certain staff papers on 
production, shipping, and aluminum 
which had come before the JCS. He 
added that "it was for this reason that 
I sought to be present to give you full in- 
formation on logistics problems and to be 
represented on lower committees so that 
papers presented to the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff would be real staff papers and not so 
superficially treated as some had been." 
Somervell insisted that unless General 
Marshall was officially represented on the 
JPS by an officer who knew supply re- 
quirements, production availability, and 
transportation capabilities, he would be 
badly served, and the Army and the war 
effort would suffer. He agreed that com- 
mittees could be too large, but the addi- 
tion of one more member under such 
circumstances seemed scarcely unreason- 
able. He also pointed out that the Joint 
Administrative Committee would have a 
Navy representative. But, with repre- 
sentation for the Army confined to OPD, 
there would be no Army representation 
with the detailed knowledge of adminis- 
trative problems. 

In conclusion, Somervell asked Mar- 
shall to request the withdrawal of the JCS 

reorganization plan in order to consider 
further the Army part of the paper. Som- 
ervell made many proposals, particularly 
with regard to representation of the ASF 
on many JCS subordinate committees. 
But the heart of his recommendation was 
that logistics be an integral part of war 
planning and not introduced condescend- 
ingly with the words "when certain service 
planning remains necessary." He urged 
that no logistics or procurement questions 
be referred to the Joint Deputy Chiefs of 
Staff as set up under the plan, and he asked 
that the proposed Joint Administrative 
Committee be reconstituted as a logistics 
committee on which the ASF would be 
represented. 38 

The Operations Division argued in re- 
ply that logistics was not the exclusive 
monopoly of the Army Service Forces. 
OPD people as well as those from other 
branches of the Army, understood the sig- 
nificance of procurement, supply, and ad- 
ministration, though they did not pretend 
to be expert in the more technical aspects 
of logistics. For details and fine points, 
planners depended on the ASF to serve 
them in a subordinate technical role, and 
they were perfectly capable of assimilating 
for their policy and strategy-making func- 
tions the logistical data thus provided. If, 
in the past, this logistical material was not 
well prepared, an OPD general noted, it 
"is unfortunate because the logistic infor- 
mation and data required for such plans 
was invariably obtained from the ASF." 39 

General Somervell's protest had some 

38 Memo, Somervell to CofS, 27 Mar 43, sub: Reorg 
of Supporting Agencies for JCS, JCS 202/2, Hq ASF; 
Memo, Somervell to Lt Gen Stanley D, Embick, 7 
Apr 43, sub: Reorg of Supporting Agencies for JCS, 
JCS 202/2, Hq ASF, CofS (Joint and Combined). 

38 Wedemeyer for CofS, 5 Apr 43, sub: Comments 
on Gen Somervell's Memo to CofS . . ., WDCSA 
334 JCS II. 



effect. The effort of the planners to elimi- 
nate the influence of the Army Service 
Forces from an important place in the 
joint system failed. Though the ASF did 
not get official representation on the JPS, 
and though even its nonvoting require- 
ments representative was eliminated, it 
was given one of the four members of the 
new JAC which specialized in logistics. 
Originally Brig. Gen. Patrick H. Tansey 
of the Operations Division had been the 
Army designee to the committee, but in- 
stead, General Styer, Somervell's chief of 
staff, was appointed. 40 

Unfortunately the struggle did not end 
there. The JAC represented a revolution- 
ary step in joint organization, and the 
Army and Air Forces members of the JPS 
feared that the new committee would 
formulate conclusions on logistics which 
might influence basic strategy. The plan- 
ners feared that if they did not modify 
strategy to conform to the recommenda- 
tions of the logisticians, the Joint Adminis- 
trative Committee would appeal to the 
JCS. The planners would tolerate no chal- 
lenge to their primary position, and 
throughout the war urged that they alone 
should direct planning activity. 41 

In July of 1943 President Roosevelt 
directed the JCS to provide for joint plan- 
ning in logistics to parallel joint strategic 
planning so that there would be "one uni- 
fied and balanced supply program consist- 
ent with up-to-date strategic concepts." In 
a memo to General Marshall, Somervell 
commented, "Evidently the information 
furnished the President has been neither 
accurate nor complete," and he enclosed a 
draft of a proposed reply. The Joint Chiefs 
relied heavily in their answer on a memo- 
randum by Somervell which stated that 
the JAC was working to achieve the Presi- 
dent's goal. 42 OPD officers, however, took 

issue with the accuracy of General Somer- 
vell's reply, which led the Joint Adminis- 
trative Committee to draft a new charter. 
It proposed that it be renamed the Joint 
Logistics Committee, that membership be 
increased from four to six, and that two of 
the three Army members should come 
from ASF. 

The Operations Division opposed this 
suggestion. Its representative on the JPS, 
in collaboration with the Air Forces plan- 
ner, argued effectively that the JLC ought 
not to be on a par with the planners in the 
co-ordination of logistics with strategy. As 
a result, the ASF logisticians suffered a 
double defeat. First, in the final phrase- 
ology adopted, the new committee was to 
"advise" rather than "act in co-ordina- 
tion," and the JPS was specifically named 
as the body which was to integrate logistics 
with strategy in the preparation of joint 
war plans. In this way, the logisticians 
would be checked in attempts to make 
strategy. Second, the additional member 
of the new JLC was to come from the Op- 
erations Division rather than from the 
ASF. 43 

With its victory over the ASF on the 
powers and membership of the new com- 
mittee, the JPS dropped their opposition 
to another proposal, that of providing the 
JLC with a working committee. This unit, 
called the Joint Logistics Plans Commit- 
tee, was made up of a control group of six 
members, one of whom was from the ASF 
and another from OPD. Besides these, 

40 Memo, DCofS for Secretariat, JCS, 5 May 43, 
sub: Army Representatives on JAC, JCS 202/10/D. 

11 Cline, Washington Command Post , Ch. XIII, dis- 
cusses JPS-J AC relations in greater detail. 

12 Memo, Somervell to CofS, 19 Jul 43; Ltr, Ad- 
miral William D. Leahy to President. Both in Hq 
ASF, CofS (Joint and Combined). 

"JCS 450/1, 9 Sep 43; JCS 450/3, 14 Sep 43;JCS 
202/29/D, 13 Oct 43, Charter JLC. 



there were a great many associate mem- 
bers who worked with specific problems. 
The Army associates came from all parts 
of the War Department that had logistical 
problems and staffs. But by far the largest 
number came from the Army Service 
Forces. Through their expert knowledge of 
many of the subjects that came before the 
committee, they enabled the ASF to make 
its weight felt on lower levels and to exert 
a considerable influence." 

In summary, it may be said that the 
Operations Division tended to move into 
the field of logistics and build its own logis- 
tical staff, while the Army Service Forces 
tended to enter the field of strategy. This 
tendency to encroach arose naturally be- 
cause OPD could not determine strategy 
in a vacuum, while the ASF in working 
out logistical possibilities was also, in ef- 
fect, imposing limitations on strategy. 
Strategic employment of the Army was 
essentially a problem of movement of men 
and supplies to where they could be effec- 
tively employed against the enemy. This 
movement aspect was the overlapping area of 
strategy and logistics. 

In this zone of overlapping interest, 
OPD was unhappy about the role played 
by the ASF in matters of strategy, and the 
ASF was equally unhappy about the role 
of OPD in logistics. General Somervell 
wrote to General Marshall that the Logis- 
tics Section in the Operations Division was 

"a straight and unnecessary duplication of 
effort" which ought to be eliminated and 
its duties "absorbed in the appropriate 
agencies of the Army Air Forces and the 
Army Service Forces." 45 On the other 
hand, OPD tried to cut down the influence 
of the ASF. It particularly objected to the 
Strategic Logistics Division in ASF, which 
prepared long-range operational studies. 
In an extreme case, an OPD colonel 
pleaded that certain information be with- 
held from ASF, because "the Planning 
Division, ASF, has been notorious for its 
meddling in strategic planning." 46 

Unfortunately all this had repercussions 
in personal resentments and animosities. 
General Somervell never realized the ex- 
tent of the hostility in the Operations Divi- 
sion against himself, although General 
Lutes, whose working relations with OPD 
were closer and on a more continuous 
basis than those of Somervell, realized 
what was happening. At the end of the 
war, the OPD was one of the important 
advocates of the move to break up the 
Army Service Forces. 

44 JCS 450/7/D, 10 Nov 43, Charter JLPC; JLC, 
Memo for Info 2, 4 Dec 43, sub; JLPC Associate 

45 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 3 Apr 43, sub: Sug- 
gested Changes in Org of the WD, OPD 320 WD 1. 

46 Memo, Col Harvey H. Fischer for Chief Strategy 
and Policy, 13 Aug 44, sub: ASF Request for Japa- 
nese Forces on Hokkaido, with SS 250, ABC 381, 
Strategy Sec Papers (7 Jan 43). 


The Army Air Forces and 

the ASF 

The War Department reorganization of 9 
March 1942 also produced numerous or- 
ganizational difficulties between the Army 
Service Forces and the Army Air Forces. 
The air arm of the Army had finally 
achieved an autonomous position within 
the Department. But it still felt the need to 
gain "adequate" recognition of air power, 
and this effort brought about many con- 
flicts over the respective responsibilities of 
the ASF and the AAF. 

The reorganization gave the AAF a spe- 
cial position in the War Department. Not 
only was it left free to develop its own basic 
doctrine on combat employment of the air 
arm, but also its commanding general be- 
came the strategic and tactical adviser in 
the War Department on all Air Forces op- 
erations. Second, the AAF was made re- 
sponsible for the procurement of all 
equipment "peculiar to the Army Air 
Forces." In the third place, it was given 
command of "Army Air Forces stations 
and bases not assigned to defense com- 
mands or theater commanders," though 
as a final exhortation, the AAF was told to 
minimize its administrative activities by 
utilizing the services of the ASF. The ex- 
hortation was at best a pious wish. 1 

The difficulties between the ASF and 
the AAF arose mainly in the fields of pro- 
curement and of post management. This 

second difficulty stemmed from the fact 
that the AAF exercised command over all 
Air Forces installations located within the 
United States, while the Army Ground 
Forces used posts managed by the ASF. 
The problem here was whether the AAF 
was to follow practices different from those 
developed by the ASF, or whether it was 
to utilize the supervisory services of the 
ASF to insure the proper management of 
post operations. 

There were other irritations besides 
these two major ones. The Army Air 
Forces objected to the budgetary authority 
of the ASF and repeatedly proposed that 
the War Department should have a 
budget division at the General Staff level. 2 
Then too the AAF desired to use its own 
communications system rather than the 
War Department system built up by the 
Signal Corps. Eventually the administra- 
tive — as contrasted with the tactical — 
communications system of the AAF was 
integrated with that for the War Depart- 
ment generally. Occasionally there were 
differences over accounting matters, al- 
though for the most part the Air Forces 
kept the type of records required by the 
Fiscal Director, ASF. These were only the 
pin pricks in ASF-AAF relations, how- 

1 WD Cir 5 9, 2 Ma r 42, pars. 64, 6c (19). 

2 See below,[p7T52] 



ever; the real difficulties, as already stated, 
arose over procurement and post manage- 
ment operations. 

Procurement and Supply Relationships 

The procurement relations of the Army 
Service Forces and the Army Air Forces 
were of two kinds. One relationship arose 
at the policy level; the other in the actual 
procurement of various types of materiel. 
Prior to 9 March 1942 the Air Corps, in a 
sense, had simply been another supply 
arm of the War Department, subject, like 
the others, to the procurement supervision 
of the Under Secretary of War. After 9 
March 1942 the supervisory organization 
of the Under Secretary was transferred to 
the staff of the Commanding General, 
ASF. 3 Most of the people who had previ- 
ously been with the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War and the G-4 Division of 
the War Department General Staff were 
now with the headquarters staff of the 
Army Service Forces. The ASF was recog- 
nized as the principal procurement agency 
of the War Department. To what extent 
then was the AAF to follow procurement 
policies and procedures developed within 
the ASF? Actually, on a dollar volume 
basis, the seven technical services of the 
ASF spent about two thirds of the pro- 
curement funds of the War Department 
and the Army Air Forces about one third. 
The headquarters staff of the ASF was a 
supervisory agency setting the procure- 
ment policies for the technical services. 
Somervell thought it desirable that the 
AAF follow the same standard policies. 

The parties concerned resorted to vari- 
ous devices so that the supervisory duties 
could be performed without lacerating 
corps consciousness too severely. For ex- 
ample, General Somervell's director of the 

Purchases Division acted as an ASF officer 
when dealing with the technical services, 
but became Director of Purchases for the 
Under Secretary of War when supervising 
the Army Air Forces. 4 The purchasing 
policies and the contract provisions devel- 
oped in the Purchases Division thus ap- 
plied equally to the AAF and to the 
technical services of the ASF. To facilitate 
co-operation, the Army Air Forces placed 
a liaison officer in the Purchases Division 
to keep in touch with purchasing policies 
and to clear them with the AAF. 

The same type of relationship developed 
in the field of contract renegotiation. The 
director of the Renegotiation Division in 
ASF headquarters was also chairman of 
the War Department Price Adjustment 
Board. This officer assigned contract re- 
negotiations to the AAF in the name of the 
Under Secretary. The AAF filled out the 
same reports as those filled out by the 
technical services. The Renegotiation 
Division kept a War Department-wide 
record of contract renegotiation. In this 
field too, then, the same standards, the 
same procedures, and the same policies 
governed the technical services and the 
Army Air Forces. 

Similarly, the Readjustment Division in 
ASF headquarters developed policies and 
procedures for contract termination. This 
division kept a record of the progress made 
in settlement of terminations and handled 
policies on the determination of excess 
property. The AAF followed the Read- 
justment Division's instructions in the 
same way that the technical services did. 

Just as in the case of the Purchases Divi- 
sion, whenever the Renegotiation Division 
or the Readjustment Division were deal- 
ing with the AAF, the respective heads of 

3 See above JCh. ill 

3 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 31-34. 



these divisions acted as "special represent- 
ative" of the Under Secretary of War, thus 
preserving the fiction that the Under Sec- 
retary supervised the procurement oper- 
ations of the AAF. But there was no 
duplication of staffs between the Office of 
the Under Secretary and the Command- 
ing General, ASF. On procurement policy 
matters the Air Technical Service Com- 
mand (before 1944 the Air Service and 
the Air Materiel Commands) was simply 
an additional technical service. The AAF 
did not question the need for standard 
War Department policies on contract 
clauses, pricing policy, contract renegotia- 
tions, and contract termination. As long as 
the provisions were promulgated in the 
name of the Under Secretary of War and 
not in the name of the Commanding Gen- 
eral, ASF, the AAF seemed to be satisfied. 

The AAF was also favorably disposed 
toward the work of the Procurement As- 
signment Board in the Purchases Division. 
This board fixed procurement responsibil- 
ity among the technical services for newly 
standardized items of equipment and re- 
assigned responsibility when overlapping 
in procurement operations became evi- 
dent. The board sometimes assigned items 
for procurement by the Army Air Forces, 
and in one or two instances took procure- 
ment from the AAF for assignment to a 
technical service. 

The ASF provided similar leadership in 
handling labor and manpower problems. 
With the growing shortage of labor, and 
with the expansion of both War Produc- 
tion Board and War Manpower Commis- 
sion (WMC) organizations to handle such 
shortages, the War Department saw the 
need of developing field machinery of its 
own. On 5 November 1943 the Under 
Secretary pointed out to the ASF and 
AAF commanding generals that labor re- 

lations and labor supply were an essential 
part of procurement. Accordingly, the 
AAF was to handle all intraplant labor 
problems in facilities under its jurisdiction, 
while the technical services would dis- 
charge a similar responsibility in plants 
under their authority. But the "general 
directing and supervising" of all War De- 
partment labor activities was to be exer- 
cised on behalf of the Under Secretary by 
the Industrial Personnel Division in ASF 
headquarters. Thus another staff division 
of the ASF became likewise a staff unit of 
the Under Secretary when dealing with 
the labor relations and manpower prob- 
lems of the Army Air Forces. 5 

But except for labor matters, no such 
arrangement was worked out in any other 
"production" field. The AAF developed 
its own methods of estimating raw mate- 
rial requirements and presented these sep- 
arately to the WPB. It had its own pro- 
cedures for controlling allotments of raw 
materials, and for maintaining production 
records. The ASF Production Division was 
never used by the Under Secretary of War 
in following the progress of the AAF pro- 
duction program. Production statistics of 
the AAF were very different from those of 
the ASF. Even on matters such as packing 
and packaging and the conservation of 
materials, the Army Air Forces followed 
one program and the Army Service Forces 

In addition, when the ASF was first set 
up, Somervell had hoped that the newly 
developed Army Supply Program would 
include requirements of the AAF. This 
hope was short-lived. The AAF followed 
its own practices in determining its pro- 
curement needs. Only after long argument 
was the ASF able to include in its supply 

5 WD Cir317, 7 Dec 42, w/atchd Memo oFUSW, 
5 Nov 43. 



program the requirements of the Army 
Air Forces which were purchased by the 
technical services of the ASF. These in- 
cluded bombs procured by the Ordnance 
Department and the Chemical Warfare 
Service and other specified types of equip- 
ment. Items of air materiel "peculiar" to 
the Air Forces were consolidated in a sep- 
arate section of the Army Supply Pro- 
gram. Accordingly, in determining supply 
requirements and directing production, 
the AAF and the ASF went their own sep- 
arate ways. No serious disputes resulted 
from this arrangement, although occasion- 
ally there were conflicting points of view. 

In specifying that the AAF would pro- 
cure supplies "peculiar" to its activities, 
War Department Circular 59 presumably 
referred primarily to aircraft engines, air- 
craft frames, and certain equipment which 
went into aircraft. Other supplies, it was 
supposed, would be provided by the ASF, 
as in the case of the food, the hand weap- 
ons, the trucks, and the other equipment 
used by the AAF, even when some of these 
items were not entirely the same as those 
used by the Army Ground Forces and the 
service troops themselves. Actually, there 
was constant difficulty in drawing a line 
between items "peculiar" to the AAF and 
those which were not. 

Throughout the war, the Ordnance De- 
partment of the ASF provided armament 
for aircraft. The air-cooled .50-caliber ma- 
chine gun, the 20-mm. gun, and the 
75-mm. cannon were weapons that were 
used by the Air Forces. The Ordnance De- 
partment likewise produced ammunition 
for aircraft armament, and in co-operation 
with the AAF developed the high explo- 
sive bombs which were dropped by the 
medium and heavy bombardment groups. 
From time to time the AAF proposed that 
it should take over all procurement of 

ordnance equipment going into aircraft. 
The proposals were rejected, and until the 
end of the war, the Ordnance Department 
continued to be the procurement agency 
for AAF armament. 

Extraordinary progress in the develop- 
ment and procurement of incendiary 
bombs was made by the Chemical War- 
fare Service working with the Army Air 
Forces. Apparently the AAF was satisfied 
with the arrangement. The only contro- 
versies were over the size of AAF require- 
ments for incendiary bombs. The Chem- 
ical Warfare Service accepted AAF 
estimates of requirements, although it be- 
lieved that the requirements at times were 
unduly high. 

The Quartermaster General was the 
procurement agency of the Army for food- 
stuffs and for clothing. The early experi- 
ence in long-range bomber attacks indi- 
cated that some method of special feeding 
was needed to help combat fatigue on re- 
turn journeys. At the same time, the food 
had to be edible at high altitudes. The 
AAF sought the assistance of the Office of 
The Quartermaster General and the prob- 
lem was successfully solved through their 
joint efforts. On the other hand, air-sea 
rescue boats and much other equipment 
carried in airplanes were similar to items 
purchased by both the Corps of Engineers 
and the Transportation Corps. But the 
AAF maintained that the items were "pe- 
culiar" to the AAF and insisted upon its 
own procurement. 

Similarly, the Army Air Forces insisted 
upon procuring all photographic equip- 
ment used in aerial photography, even 
though other photographic equipment 
was for the most part purchased by the 
Signal Corps. In addition, AAF was as- 
signed responsibility for procuring all 
photographic film, including that dis- 



tributed by the Signal Corps for use by 
ground cameramen. 6 

The greatest expansion of Army Air 
Forces procurement during the war oc- 
curred in 1944-45 when responsibility for 
the development, purchase, and storage of 
all communications and radar equipment 
used in aircraft was transferred from the 
Signal Corps to the AAF. Early in 1944 
the AAF had recommended to the Chief 
of StafF that Signal Corps procurement of 
aircraft communications equipment be 
transferred to it. The Signal Corps had 
established a procurement office for this 
activity at Wright Field, headquarters of 
the Air Technical Service Command. 
Eventually all procurement of communi- 
cations equipment for the AAF was cen- 
tralized in this office. The AAF main- 
tained that since the office was located at 
Wright Field and was working with the 
Army Air Forces, its operations should be 
transferred to AAF control. The Signal 
Corps replied that while the office had 
been placed at Wright Field simply as a 
matter of convenience to the AAF, the re- 
search and development program of the 
entire Signal Corps was utilized in devel- 
oping air communications equipment. 
Moreover, the Wright Field office de- 
pended upon other Signal Corps offices for 
expediting production and other contract 

On 26 July 1944 General Marshall 
wrote a memorandum addressed jointly to 
Generals Arnold and Somervell expressing 
the opinion that the time had come when 
airborne radar and radio equipment, 
guided missiles, ground radar, and radio 
navigational aids should be considered 
items of equipment peculiar to the Air 
Forces. But he indicated his belief that the 
procurement of all these items should not 
be transferred at this time from the Signal 

Corps to the Army Air Forces. He sug- 
gested only that the AAF should now 
assume full responsibility for research and 
development, including procurement of 
experimental items. By implication, but 
not in so many words, the Chief of Staff 
invited comment upon this issue. 7 

General Somervell "strongly recom- 
mended" to the Chief of Staff that he con- 
sider certain factors before issuing the 
proposed directive. Such a directive would 
separate radio and radar research and de- 
velopment for aircraft from similar re- 
search and development of equipment for 
ground use. This step would also hamper 
the growing collaboration of the Signal 
Corps with the Navy. Moreover, the exist- 
ing arrangement, with Signal Corps labo- 
ratories and procurement located at 
Wright Field, permitted the closest co-op- 
eration and association with the AAF 
while still retaining the advantage of cen- 
tralized research and procurement. This 
was particularly important because about 
75 percent of the component parts of Air 
Forces radio and radar equipment was the 
same kind as that in the equipment used 
by the AGF. Furthermore the Signal 
Corps was about to promote complete 
standardization of component parts and 
common types of equipment. Finally, the 
proposed separation of activities would 
probably result in competition for limited 
and essential facilities and equipment. In 

6 An account of AAF procurement outside of the 
airplane itself will be found in Col William H. 
Draper, Jr., and Capt Lewis L. Strauss, Coordination 
of Procurement Between the War and Navy Depart- 
ments: III, Materiel Studies (multilithed by TAGO), 
Feb 45, pp. 124-57. This is the so-called Draper- 
Strauss report prepared at the direction of the Secre- 
tary of the Navy and the Under Secretary of War. 
(Herea fter cited as Draper-Strauss Rpt.) See below, 

7 Memo, Marshall for Arnold and Somervell, 26 Jul 
44, WDCSA 413.44 (26Jul 44). 



conclusion, General Somervell remarked 
that the AAF, had not given any particu- 
lars about Signal Corps failure to provide 
satisfactory service. He suggested that 
General Arnold and he should examine 
the situation so that both could develop 
plans which would remedy any unsatis- 
factory performance and at the same time 
avoid the "real and extensive difficulties 
which the proposed action would entail." 8 

Arnold, in giving his reaction to Gen- 
eral Marshall's proposed directive, re- 
marked that the help the Air Forces had 
received from the ASF had been com- 
mendable. Nevertheless, the new policy 
would enable the Air Forces to synchro- 
nize development of vital radio and radar 
equipment with aircraft development. 9 

After weighing the arguments on both 
sides, the Chief of Staff decided to transfer 
development and development procure- 
ment of air communications equipment to 
the AAF. 10 A joint committee of the Signal 
Corps and the AAF was established to 
work out details of the transfer, 11 which 
was effected on 1 April 1945. 12 A total of 
600 officers, 390 enlisted men, and 8,245 
civilian employees of the Signal Corps 
were shifted to the Army Air Forces. The 
total dollar value of the procurement pro- 
gram thus transferred averaged a billion 
dollars a year during World War II. 13 

The Conflict Over Post and Base Management 

More acrimonious than the foregoing 
dispute over procurement and supply was 
the controversy between the two com- 
mands resulting from divided responsibil- 
ities in the management of Army posts in 
the United States. 14 As will be explained 
later, the nine service commands of the 
ASF provided the regional channels 
through which the ASF managed military 

posts where Army Ground Forces and 
ASF personnel were trained. Post manage- 
ment was a sizable task. Central manage- 
ment of all posts by the ASF would have 
permitted a single system of supervision as 
well as uniform methods of supply. But 
the AAF insisted upon the complete and 
separate management of its own posts, or 
air bases. 

Originally the AAF argued that bases 
where its troops were trained were differ- 
ent from posts for ground troops, the more 
important difference centering mainly in 
the airfields themselves and the hangars. 
All characteristics common to post and 
base management were held to be subor- 
dinate to this differentiating feature. The 
Air Forces belittled the importance of hos- 
pital administration, post exchange busi- 
ness, the disbursement of funds, the 
management of motion picture theaters, 
the operation of supply warehouses, the 
provision of utilities, the storage of clothing 
and other items, and of other activities 
performed at both types of installations. 
The features peculiar to an air base, the 
AAF insisted, made it essentially different 
from an Army post and therefore justified 
exclusive management of the base by the 
Air Forces itself. 

Army regulations in August 1942 placed 

8 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 3 1 Jul 44, Hq ASF, 
CofS, 1944. 

9 Memo, Arnold for Marshall, 28 Jul 44, WDCSA 
413.44 (22 Jul 44). 

10 Ltr, McNarney to CG AAF and CG ASF, 26 Aug 
44, sub: Trf of Research, Development and Develop- 
ment Procurement of Communications and Radar 
Equip to AAF from ASF, WDCSA 413.44 (10 Aug 

11 Memo, Lutes and Arnold for CofS, 10 Aug 44, 
sub: Trf of Research, Development and Development 
Procurement of Communications and Radar Equip 
to AAF from ASF, CofS ASF, AAF, 1944. 

12 WD Cir 429, 3 Nov 44. 

13 Annual R pt of AS F, 1945, p. 191. 
11 See below, \p7T63] 



all AAF bases in a category labeled Class 
III, "installations under command of 
Army Air Forces." 15 At these installations 
the service commanders of the ASF were 
directed to supervise fourteen activities 
which ranged from general courts martial 
jurisdiction to the operation of laundries. 
The list was enlarged a little on 24 Decem- 
ber 1942, but there were still glaring omis- 
sions, notably medical service and supply 
operations involving common Army items. 

The ASF took the initiative in prepar- 
ing the original Army regulation. The 
AAF agreed to the list of activities in the 
performance of which the commanding 
officer at a Class III installation would 
come under the supervision of the service 
command. Within this specified list, air 
bases and Army posts within the United 
States operated under a single set of in- 
structions, with uniform standards of serv- 
ice, and subject to the same supervision. 
With respect to all other activities, how- 
ever, the base commanding officer was re- 
sponsible to his designated superior in the 
organizational hierarchy of the Army Air 

This arrangement for dual supervision 
of Air Forces bases soon created trouble. 
Even though the regulations made it clear 
that the AAF would designate the air base 
commander and that this commander 
would report to the Air Forces on Air 
Forces matters and to the service com- 
mander on Service Forces matters, the 
AAF never liked the arrangement. The is- 
sues that arose were in themselves trivial. 
They became important because they in- 
volved the basic question of whether the 
ASF would provide services to the AAF in 
the same way as it did for the AGF, or 
whether the Army air arm would become 
completely self-contained and duplicate 
the organization of the ASF. 

One conflict developed over the method 
of supply distribution to air bases. The 
zone of interior supply distribution system 
established by the ASF was a relatively 
simple and direct one. Technical service 
depots or branches of ASF general depots 
were designated as distribution depots to 
fill requisitions from posts in their area. 
Post supply officers were given a list of the 
appropriate depots from which they might 
requisition various types of supplies 
needed by troops in training at the post. 
Requisitions flowed from the post to the 
depot and supplies from the depot to the 
post. The technical service depots were 
prepared to render a like service to all air 

In May 1943 the War Department is- 
sued a technical manual on stock control 
at posts, camps, and stations. 16 This man- 
ual was prepared by the ASF, and the 
Army Air Forces concurred. But after it 
became necessary in 1944 to rewrite the 
manual to incorporate the lessons gained 
from a year's experience, the AAF pro- 
posed a series of changes which would 
have established supply procedures for air 
bases entirely different from those for other 
Army posts. When the ASF objected, the 
Air Forces proposed publication of its own 
technical manual governing supply pro- 
cedures of the Air Forces. ASF headquar- 
ters objected to these proposals on the 
ground that the manual was intended to 
govern the distribution of ASF supplies 
wherever needed in the United States, and 
that a uniform procedure was indispen- 
sable in order to keep stocks at a minimum 
level and so reduce purchases. 

Protracted direct negotiation followed 
between the two commands. On those 

15 AR 170-10, 10 Aug 42. 

16 WD TM 38-220, Stock Control at Posts, Gamps, 
and Stations, 3 May 43. 



matters where agreement was not possible, 
the issues were presented to the War De- 
partment General Staff for decision. In the 
end, the manual was revised and applied 
to both the ASF and the AAF, but the 
commanding generals of the various Air 
Forces commands in the United States 
were made responsible for carrying out its 
provisions. 17 Thus the ASF had its own 
supervisory organization for insuring that 
stock levels were fixed at posts in accord- 
ance with the provisions of the manual, 
while the AAF, through a number of dif- 
ferent commands, had the same supervi- 
sory responsibility at all air bases. 18 

The method of handling repairs and 
utility matters was another sore point with 
the AAF. From the time that Army regu- 
lations governing Air Forces bases were 
first put into effect in August 1942, the 
AAF began to recommend other arrange- 
ments for dealing with these responsibil- 
ities. The Army Service Forces wanted its 
service commands to handle funds, per- 
sonnel allotments, and technical instruc- 
tions for the operation of water, electrical, 
and sewage systems, and for the mainte- 
nance of buildings. Service commands 
then dealt directly with air bases on these 
activities. In July 1943 the commanding 
general of the Eighth Service Command 
reported that AAF headquarters was al- 
lotting personnel for repairs and utilities 
activities. These allotments not only dif- 
fered in size from those made by the ASF, 
but were also subjected to different per- 
sonnel policies. For example, ASF instruc- 
tions prohibited the use of enlisted men for 
repairs and utilities duties at posts, while 
the AAF made it mandatory that a certain 
number be used for this activity. 19 There 
was also disagreement about the position 
of the post engineer in post organization at 
air bases. The post engineer at ground 

posts reported directly to the post com- 
mander, while the Air Forces had intro- 
duced an intervening echelon which 
service commanders felt complicated their 
relationship with base engineers. 

There was little that the ASF could do 
about these situations. Internal organiza- 
tion of air bases was entirely the respon- 
sibility of the AAF. At most, commanding 
generals of service commands could only 
press their repairs and utilities responsibil- 
ities as best they could at each air base. 

On 14 April 1944 the commanding gen- 
eral of the Army Air Forces sent a memo- 
randum to the Chief of Staff (attention: 
G-4), recommending that all the repairs 
and utilities responsibilities at air bases be 
delegated to the AAF. The ASF attitude 
toward this recommendation was ex- 
pressed by General Styer who said, on 21 
April 1944, that he was "strongly op- 
posed" to such a proposal unless the Army 
Air Forces became independent of the rest 
of the Army. By law, the Chief of Engi- 
neers was responsible for repair and utility 
activities, and in the ASF this responsibil- 
ity was performed through service com- 
mand engineers. This arrangement pro- 
vided a simple, direct method for 
performing the work on a geographic basis 
throughout the zone of interior. To adopt 
General Arnold's proposal would mean 
two separate supervisory organizations for 
repair and utilities functions. General 
Styer remarked that there were no diffi- 
culties in the present organization which 
could not be solved by a co-operative rela- 
tionship between the ASF and the AAF 

17 WD TM 38-220, Stock Control at Posts, Camps, 
and Stations, revised, 9 May 44. 

18 Summarized from a study, E. L. Bland, Army 
Service Forces-Army Air Forces Relations, prepared 
by CD, ASF, OCMH. 

19 Min, Conf of CG's Sv Comds, Chicago, 22-24 
Jul 43, pp. 252-53. 



similar to that which the ASF had worked 
out with the Army Ground Forces. He 
recommended that "the principle be 
adopted and put into effect that the Army 
Service Forces will supply and service all 
Air Forces installations in the same man- 
ner that the Army Service Forces now sup- 
plies and services all installations utilized 
by the Army Ground Forces." 20 

The recommendation from the com- 
manding general of the AAF was disap- 
proved by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the 
War Department. But the counterrecom- 
mendation of the ASF was also disap- 
proved. The issue, therefore, remained 
very much alive. 

Another controversy concerned hospi- 
tal administration. To care for AAF per- 
sonnel at air bases, the AAF had station 
hospitals which were supervised through 
various commands terminating in the 
headquarters of the AAF, where the Air 
Surgeon was the top medical officer. The 
Surgeon General of the Army, who was a 
part of the ASF, had almost no authority 
over AAF hospital facilities. On 30 April 
1943 General Somervell requested the 
Chief of Staff to reaffirm that the Surgeon 
General was the chief medical officer of 
the entire Army. 21 The Deputy Chief of 
Staff replied that existing regulations ade- 
quately prescribed the functions of The 
Surgeon General, who had "over-all re- 
sponsibility of providing adequate medical 
service for the entire Army." At the same 
time, he advised, there must be "sufficient 
decentralization" to insure that "policies" 
in practice met the needs of overseas thea- 
ters and the three major commands within 
the United States. 

The Deputy Chief of Staff set forth three 
"principles" for the guidance of The Sur- 
geon General and the Air Surgeon. First, 
the procurement of all medical personnel 

was a responsibility of The Surgeon Gen- 
eral. Second, station hospitals at Air 
Forces bases were under the command of 
the AAF. Third, aviation medicine and 
medical treatment of combat crews were 
responsibilities of the AAF, under the di- 
rection of the Air Surgeon. General hos- 
pitals to meet this need would be assigned 
to the AAF by the Chief of Staff. 22 

This statement of responsibilities was by 
no means satisfactory to The Surgeon 
General. On 30 June 1943 General Somer- 
vell wrote to the Chief of Staff, forwarding 
a memorandum which he had received 
from The Surgeon General. At the outset, 
Somervell expressed his belief that it was 
not the intention of the Chief of Staff to 
have two medical departments in the 
Army, one for the Air Forces and one for 
ground troops. It was true that airmen 
were subject to certain maladies and in- 
juries which would require specialized 
treatment. The same was true of tank 
crews. Yet this did not justify a separate 
medical service for the armored forces. 
The Surgeon General desired to develop 
in his office a group of specialists in dis- 
eases and ailments peculiar to aviation 
and also to have these specialists in gen- 
eral hospitals. General Somervell particu- 
larly objected to the assertion that the Air 
Corps medical service operated more ef- 
ficiently and more economically and 
therefore the Air Corps ought not be de- 
prived of superior medical care. Such an 
assertion, Somervell said, rested on "no 
foundation in fact." The "intransigent at- 

20 1st Ind, CofS ASF, signed W. D. Styer, to ACo£S 
(G-4), 21 Apr 44, CG ASF. 

21 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 30 Apr 43, sub: Uni- 
fication of Med Sv of the Army by SG, Hq ASF, SG, 

22 Memo, O. L. Nelson, Asst to DCofS, for CG AAF, 
CG AGF, and CG ASF, 20 Jun 43, sub: Med Sv of 
the Army, WDCSAL 320 (5-26-43). 



titude of the Air Surgeon must be over- 
come," he added, and proposed that the 
Air Surgeon should be made a Deputy 
Surgeon General for Aviation Medicine 
and placed in The Surgeon General's of- 
fice. General Somervell objected that the 
instructions of the Deputy Chief of Staff 
were not conducive to the development of 
a unified medical service for the Army as 
a whole. 23 But Somervell's recommenda- 
tion was not accepted, and for the time 
being the situation remained as first out- 
lined by the Deputy Chief of Staff. 

As a result of the growing shortage of 
doctors in 1944, a study was made of ASF 
and AAF hospital facilities in the zone of 
interior and recommendations made for 
conserving medical facilities and person- 
nel. The Deputy Chief of Staff approved 
these recommendations and directed the 
commanding generals of the ASF and the 
AAF to work out a mutually satisfactory 
hospital system, whereby facilities would 
be utilized by military personnel on a basis 
other than that of command jurisdiction. 
In a conference on 30 March 1944, sub- 
stantial agreement was reached by the two 
commands. As a result, an arrangement 
was put into effect in April which pro- 
vided that military personnel would be 
treated at the nearest adequately staffed 
and equipped Army dispensary or Army 
hospital regardless of command jurisdic- 
tion. A station hospital was ordinarily ex- 
pected to serve an area within a radius of 
approximately twenty-five miles. In addi- 
tion, the circular provided for a new type 
of hospital, the regional station hospital. 
Regional station hospitals for all practical 
purposes replaced the general hospitals as 
the medical facility providing definitive 
surgical and hospital care within the 
United States. The War Department was 
to determine the location of regional sta- 

tion hospitals upon the recommendation 
of the Commanding General, ASF and the 
Commanding General, AAF. The Sur- 
geon General was to be professionally re- 
sponsible for medical service throughout 
the zone of interior. One of his responsibil- 
ities was to inspect the quality of medical 
treatment in the Army. 24 The Surgeon 
General and the Air Surgeon agreed upon 
the designation of regional station hospi- 
tals to provide area coverage throughout 
the United States. These were to be ad- 
justed from time to time when necessary. 25 
Thus the problem of hospital jurisdic- 
tion was solved for the remainder of the 
war. Service command medical consult- 
ants inspected AAF hospital facilities and 
reported on them through AAF channels 
to The Surgeon General of the Army. 
Service commands and the field com- 
mands of the AAF arranged the geograph- 
ical structure whereby regional station 
hospitals were designated and duplication 
of medical facilities and personnel was 
avoided. The AAF retained control over 
its post hospitals and its regional station 
hospitals. But some degree of co-operative 
relationship had been achieved. The solu- 
tion was not entirely satisfactory to either 
party but it was at least a working ar- 
rangement which prevented a flagrant 
duplication of medical facilities and per- 

23 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 30 Jun 43; Memo, 
SG for CofS (through ASF), 29 Jun 43; Memo, The 
G-4 to CofS, 15 Jun 43, sub: Med Sv of the Army. 
All in Hq ASF, SG, 1943. 

24 WDCir 140, 11 Apr 44. 

25 By 30 June 1945, the ASF was operating twenty- 
six regional hospitals which were located at large mili- 
tary posts and were enlarged station hospitals. The 
more serious medical and surgical patients who were 
formerly transferred from station to general hospitals 
were now sent to regional station hospitals. The gen- 
eral hospitals were reserved for the care of sick and 
wounded from overseas. Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, 
p. 79. 



The Controversy Over Allotment of Funds 

In the spring of 1944 the Army Air 
Forces charged the ASF with "interfer- 
ence" in the management of air bases. 
Service commands were violating com- 
mand channels, it complained, by allotting 
funds to Class III installations for repairs 
and utilities and a number of other activ- 
ities. The AAF argued that these funds 
should be allotted directly to the Com- 
manding General, AAF, who in turn 
would allot them to various air bases and 
other installations. Furthermore, the AAF 
refused to acknowledge that the chain of 
command on these particular responsibil- 
ities could be from the Commanding Gen- 
eral, ASF, to the commanding general of 
a service command, to the commanding 
officer of an air base. 

On 10 May 1944 the Secretary of War 
intervened and suggested a survey of the 
problems causing dispute. 26 About a 
month later, the Deputy Chief of Staff, 
General McNarney, submitted a formal 
proposal for a study, and shortly thereafter 
the Secretary appointed Under Secretary 
Robert R Patterson; Assistant Secretary 
for Air Robert A. Lovett; Mr. George L. 
Harrison, Special Consultant to the Secre- 
tary of War; Maj. Gen. Lorenzo D. Gas- 
ser; and Brig. Gen. O. L. Nelson as an ad 
hoc committee to survey the War Depart- 
ment fiscal and budgetary organization 
and to submit recommendations for im- 
provement. This committee in turn, ap- 
pointed a working group which eventually 
was made up of four persons, one each 
from the Office of The Inspector General, 
the Budget Division of the War Depart- 
ment Special Staff, the Army Air Forces, 
and the Army Service Forces. 27 

The ad hoc committee had before it 
various suggestions, including one by the 

AAF that the Chief of Finance be sepa- 
rated from the ASF Fiscal Director and be 
set up parallel to The Adjutant General 
and the Judge Advocate General. 28 Som- 
ervell replied that such confusion about 
fiscal organization as existed could be at- 
tributed primarily to the transfer of War 
Department budget activity from the 
Army Service Forces to the War Depart- 
ment Special Staff. The original concept 
of the ASF set forth in the reorganization 
of March 1942 was "sound." Three alter- 
natives were now available. Each major 
command might have its separate fiscal 
organization; responsibility for fiscal 
policy and procedure might be returned 
to the Army Service Forces; or the existing 
arrangement which gave central budg- 
etary duties to the War Department 
Special Staff and central accounting to the 
ASF might remain unchanged. General 
Somervell recommended either the second 
or third alternative. 29 

The real issue before the ad hoc commit- 
tee was the fiscal position of the AAF. Un- 
der existing arrangements, the bulk of 
War Department appropriations was 
given to the technical services and the 

26 This memorandum on fiscal organization and 
functions of the War Department, together with all 
papers on this subject were collected and reproduced 
by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the War Department 
under the title: Fiscal Organization and Functions of 
the War Department (1944). A copy of this publica- 
tion is in the files of the Control Division, ASF. A copy 
may also be found in the files of the Deputy Chief 
of Staff. 

" Ibid. 

28 Ibid. This memorandum of 20 May 1944 was ad- 
dressed to the Deputy Chief of Staff and signed by 
Brig. Gen. Patrick W. Timberlake, Deputy Chief of 
Air Staff. It mentioned a memorandum as early as 27 
June 1942 in which General Arnold had recom- 
mended that the Chief of Staff remove the budget 
office from the ASF and attach it to his own office. 
Various comments are attached. 

29 Ibid. 



Chief of Finance, Army Service Forces. 
Part of these funds was being allotted to 
AAF fields and bases through the field or- 
ganization of the ASF. This was the aspect 
of fiscal organization which the ad hoc 
committee proposed to change at this 

On 7 September 1944 the Deputy Chief 
of Staff of the War Department informed 
General Somervell that the Secretary of 
War had approved the recommendation 
of the ad hoc committee: 

That Army Service Forces funds for the 
operation of Class III installations be allot- 
ted . . . in a lump sum by appropriation 
and project direct to the Commanding Gen- 
eral, Army Air Forces, for his distribution to 
Class III installations, with full responsibility 
placed on him for furnishing appropriate re- 
ports on the use and status of such funds. 30 

This recommendation was to go into ef- 
fect on 1 October 1944. 

This recommendation represented a 
victory for the Army Air Forces. Shortly 
before it took effect, General Styer asked 
that the matter be reconsidered. He said 
that the working group of the ad hoc com- 
mittee was revising Army regulations in a 
way which, in effect, would remove many 
ASF supervisory responsibilities at Air 
Forces posts. This was a major organiza- 
tional change in the structure of the War 
Department rather than a mere shift in 
the system of allotting funds. General 
Styer questioned whether the steering 
group in making this recommendation was 
aware of the organizational implications. 
In reply, the Deputy Chief of Staff stated 
that by direct appeal to the Under Secre- 
tary of War the ASF had already obtained 
a reconsideration. Both the Under Secre- 
tary of War and the steering group of the 
ad hoc committee had declined to alter 
their previous recommendations. Accord- 

ingly, the request for new action was not 
"favorably considered." 31 

Army regulations were shortly after- 
ward modified in accordance with the 
recommendation. 32 The statement of mis- 
sion of service commands was revised so 
that their responsibilities were enumerated 
as in force "except at Class III installa- 
tions." The responsibilities of ASF service 
commands at Air Forces installations were 
specifically limited. The supervisory duties 
removed from ASF jurisdiction were fixed 
signal communications, ordnance mainte- 
nance, special service (recreational) ac- 
tivities, repairs and utilities, operation of 
laundries, and salvage activities. 

The changes in jurisdiction produced 
considerable confusion throughout the 
Army Service Forces. The Chief Signal 
Officer pointed out that about 30 percent 
of fixed signal installations in the conti- 
nental United States were located at ap- 
proximately six hundred Class III instal- 
lations previously receiving allotments 
from service commands. With the change 
in allotment of funds, he declared, the 
whole existing system for co-ordination 
and integration of fixed signal communi- 
cations would be "seriously impaired." 

The director of the Special Services 
Division asked whether the commanding 
general of the Army Air Forces would now 
take over responsibility for selecting en- 
tertainers for soldier shows and for films 
to be sent overseas. Would the Army Mo- 
tion Picture Service be barred from rela- 
tions with the Air Forces and would 
service commanders be permitted to in- 
spect athletic and recreation programs at 

30 Memo, McNarney for CG ASF, 7 Sep 44, sub: 
Fiscal and Budgetary Functions of the WD, CG ASF. 

31 1st Ind, Styer to CofS, 12 Sep 44; 2d Ind, Mc- 
Narney to CofS. Both in Hq ASF. 

32 Changes 13 to AR 170-10, 1 1 Sep 44. 



Class III installations? The Quartermas- 
ter General noted that there would now 
be a duplication of technical staffs inspect- 
ing laundry operations and that the AAF 
would have to acquire its own technical 
supervisory personnel. He also pointed 
out that of thirty-three laundries then 
located at Class III installations, fifteen 
were performing laundry service for 
nearby ASF installations. Another sixty 
located at ASF installations in turn pro- 
vided laundry service to Class III installa- 
tions. Were these arrangements to be 
abolished in favor of a self-sufficient 
laundry service for Class III installations? 
Similarly the Chief of Engineers pointed 
out that Public Law 326 of the 77th Con- 
gress would have to be amended in order 
to remove from the Chief of Engineers his 
responsibility for direction of repairs and 
utilities work at Class III installations. 
Furthermore, he added, the Army Air 
Forces would find it difficult to acquire 
proper supervisory personnel, since only 
12 percent of the personnel engaged in the 
supervision of repairs and utilities opera- 
tions could be released by the Engineers 
with the transfer of Class III responsi- 
bility. 33 

These questions were brought to the at- 
tention of the Deputy Chief of Staff. He 
directed the AAF and the ASF to agree 
upon clarifying instructions which would 
remove the confusion and prevent any ex- 
pansion of existing facilities for post op- 
erations. Intensive negotiation resulted in 
a new agreement, embodied in a War De- 
partment directive in September 1944. 34 
This circular enumerated the activities at 
Class III installations which were no 
longer under the supervision of generals 
heading ASF service commands. The list 
concluded with a clause, which while un- 
certain in meaning, suggested that where- 

ever funds for activity at an Air Forces 
base no longer came through an ASF serv- 
ice command, service command supervi- 
sion was to cease. 

The circular drew a new jurisdictional 
boundary line between the ASF and the 
AAF. While it increased the authority of 
the Air Forces, it made it clear that the 
principal change involved was one in the 
flow of funds. Technical supervision by the 
ASF was reaffirmed and a duplication of 
facilities was prohibited. Close working re- 
lations between the ASF and the AAF 
therefore remained necessary. If the Army 
Air Forces had hoped for a complete es- 
cape from ASF supervision under the new 
arrangement, its expectations were not 

These and other controversies between 
the AAF and the ASF during World War 
II grew out of opposing views of the mis- 
sion of the two commands as well as from 
clashes of personality and an aggressive 
esprit de corps. 35 In each dispute all these 
elements were inextricably mingled. 

General Arnold and his associates had 
some justification for their attitude. The 
airmen of the Army still suffered from the 
psychological consequences of twenty 
years of what they considered "suppres- 
sion" at the hands of unimaginative 
"ground" officers. General Somervell in 
World War II just happened to be in the 
spot where he could reap some of the har- 
vest of distrust sowed for him by the top 
officials of the War Department from 1919 
to 1939. Army air officers would not be 

33 All of the memoranda of 18 Sep 44 were replies 
to an inquiry from the Chief of StafF, ASF, and are 
filed in Hq ASF. 

3 * WD Cir 388, 27 Sep 44,- also preliminary draft 
inCofS AAF, 1 944. 

35 See below. lCh. Xll 



satisfied until their corps had become an 
autonomous air force, and they were sus- 
picious of all arrangements which tended 
to make them merely a part of a larger 
entity, the Army of the United States. 

There were considerations of prestige at 
stake, too, something not easy to measure 
but always important. On the one hand, 
the AAF disliked the suggestion that its 
status as a "command" did not confer 
complete control over every phase of its 
work. Since the commanding officer of an 
air base was an Air Forces officer, it 
seemed inconsistent that he should re- 
ceive some of his instructions from a head- 
quarters outside the Army Air Forces. On 
the other hand, the ASF, while seeking a 
uniform standard of service throughout 
the Army and a single supervisory ar- 
rangement for identical activities on the 
grounds of efficient, economical adminis- 
tration, was also concerned about its own 
prestige and preservation. 

Personalities and attitudes of mind 
came into play, as well. General Arnold 
was determined to be both "staff and line" 
on Air Forces matters within the War De- 
partment. On the other hand he seemed 
unwilling for General Somervell to be 
"staff and line" on supply and service 
matters. Arnold's closest wartime associate 
told General Somervell in 1945 that the 
AAF might have turned aircraft procure- 
ment over to the Army Service Forces in 
1942, but decided "he has enough to do" 
and that "he just shouldn't have this too." 
Whether the statement was made jokingly 
or seriously, it indicated an attitude that 
played a part in determining organiza- 
tional decisions. The War Department in 
the middle of a war was still an organiza- 
tion of men. 

In any event, the controversy helped 
precipitate the reconsideration of the role 
of the ASF in the War Department, to be 
dealt with in a later chapter. 


The Somervell Proposals for 
War Department 

Although the provisions of the reorgani- 
zation of 9 March 1942 contained many 
seeds of conflict, as already described, the 
chief reason that Somervell suggested a 
further change in the logistics organiza- 
tion was the continuing uncertainty about 
the division of responsibility between the 
ASF and the Supply Division (G-4), the 
Personnel Division (G-l), and the Opera- 
tions Division, all of the WDGS. 1 

In regard to ASF and G-4 difficulties, 
it appeared at first that a division of re- 
sponsibility existed between the ASF and 
the Supply Division of G-4. At the time of 
the reorganization, Army regulations in- 
dicated that basic supply planning would 
be carried out by the Supply Division of 
G-4. Indeed these regulations specified 
that G-4 would prepare "broad basic sup- 
ply plans" to carry out mobilization and 
strategic plans while the commanding 
general of the ASF would "prepare de- 
tailed programs and plans." Such a state- 
ment would seem to imply that the 
commanding general of the ASF was ex- 
pected to receive his general instructions 
from the War Department General Staff 
through its supply division, and that the 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, would con- 

tinue to be the top supply planner for the 
Army. 2 

Actually, as already noted, the arrange- 
ment was not followed during World War 
II. In practice the "top supply planner" of 
the War Department was not the Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-4, but the commanding 
general of the Army Service Forces. Gen- 
eral Marshall continually looked to Gen- 
eral Somervell rather than to the Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-4, for advice and guid- 
ance on logistical matters. At such con- 
ferences as Casablanca, Quebec, Teheran, 
and other important meetings, the Chief 
of Staff used Somervell and the staff of the 
ASF as his staff on supply, in much the 
same way as he used OPD on strategy. 3 

Moreover, there were organizational 
factors which contributed to the special 
status of the ASF. In the first place, on 9 
March 1942 the Army Service Forces ab- 
sorbed almost all of the key personnel pre- 
viously associated with G-4. This required 
the new G-4, Brig. Gen. R. G. Moses, to 

1 See above. |p. 1 18l for a discussion of ASF rela- 
tions with OPD Logistics Group. 

2 AR 10-15, 13 Jul 42. 

3 Do rr, Memorandum Notes. See above, Chs. 



rebuild his staff out of other officers, few 
of whom could match the experience of 
men like Brig. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, Col. 
W. A. Wood, Jr., Col. F. A. Heileman, and 
Lt. Col. C. B. Magruder — to mention only 
a few of those who moved from G-4 to im- 
portant jobs in the ASF on 9 March 1942. 
Even if General Moses had been able to 
find people of the highest caliber, the cut 
in staff from 149 officers shortly before the 
reorganization to 1 1 shortly after made it 
difficult to assume a great deal of respon- 
sibility. 4 

In addition, ASF headquarters was in 
close daily touch with the actual procure- 
ment and storage operations performed by 
the seven technical services. The Supply 
Division of the General Staff was a step 
removed, and could not expect to be as in- 
timately or as expertly informed. Then 
too, there was the accidental fact that the 
Chief of Transportation, Maj. Gen. C. P. 
Gross, was a classmate and friend of Gen- 
eral Somervell. Accordingly, the closest 
relation existed between the Chief of 
Transportation and the commanding gen- 
eral of the Army Service Forces, and trans- 
portation was the key to overseas supply 
operations throughout the entire war. If 
the G-4 of the General Staff had tried to 
go directly to the technical services for in- 
formation, then it could have been ac- 
cused of attempting to short circuit the 
headquarters of the ASF. If, on the other 
hand, it sought constant and detailed in- 
formation from ASF headquarters, then it 
opened itself to charges of interfering with 
and hampering the work of that head- 

On the whole, the Supply Division of 
the WDGS played only a minor part in 
the supply phases of World War II. That 
conflict inherent in this situation did not 
break out earlier is due to the fact that 

General Moses, while G-4 in 1942 and 
1943, continually subordinated himself to 
ASF supply planners. Under him, the 
Supply Division was never disposed to en- 
gage in controversy. General Moses 
seemed to realize that G-4 was a sort of 
fifth wheel, and acted accordingly. Be- 
sides, he was a personal friend of General 
Somervell. 5 However, as might well have 
been expected, the duplication of func- 
tions concealed in this relationship caused 
trouble when a new G-4 took over. 

Another potential source of conflict be- 
tween ASF and a WDGS agency lay in 
the overlapping of functions in the field of 
personnel. The reorganization of March 
1942 assigned to the Army Service Forces 
the "administration of all functions which 
are Army-wide in scope and which pertain 
to personnel as individuals, both military 
and civilian. ..." 6 This sweeping power 
seemed to open the way for a central di- 
rection of the whole personnel function. 
While The Adjutant General's office be- 
came a part of the ASF, and a large seg- 
ment of G-l was also transferred to it, the 
reorganization left responsibility split, for 
G-l was endowed with personnel author- 
ity similar to that of the ASF. 7 

The existence of a Logistics Group in 
the Operations Division of the WDGS was 
also a constant challenge to the ASF, as 
previously noted. 8 Just as OPD looked 
upon a strategic logistics planning unit in 
ASF as a threat to its top position in stra- 
tegic planning, so ASF regarded a logistics 
unit in OPD as a thorn in its side. 

As General Somervell contemplated 
this situation in 1943, his sense of organi- 
zational nicety was disturbed. He could 

4 Min, WD Gen Council, 19 May 42. 

5 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 37-38. 

6 WD Cir 59, Sec. 7. 

7 Dorr. Me morandum Notes, pp. 38-40. 

8 See above, ICh. VII. I 



not help but believe that the formal or- 
ganizational structure in the War Depart- 
ment should reflect the realities of infor- 
mal relationships, and he felt that the 
Chief of Staff should complete the reor- 
ganizational steps begun in 1942. A year's 
experience seemed to suggest the basis for 
final solution of War Department 

Accordingly, Somervell took a some- 
what drastic step. On 3 April 1943 he 
wrote to the Chief of Staff proposing fur- 
ther changes in the War Department or- 
ganization. He insisted that these changes 
were in line with the purposes behind the 
organization of 9 March 1942. The basic 
concept upon which that organization 
was founded, Somervell noted, was to cre- 
ate a fighting power which would consist 
of a directing head with a small staff, an 
Army ground force, an Army air force, 
and an Army service force. The service 
force would handle supply, administra- 
tive details, and otherwise support the 
combat forces by relieving the other serv- 
ices of many housekeeping burdens. The 
Army Service Forces, Somervell said, is 
"therefore, quite properly and by design 
a catch-all for a large variety of functions." 

In commenting on the organization of 
the War Department General Staff, Som- 
ervell remarked that the need for OPD 
and an Intelligence Division (G-2) was 
apparent. He was not so certain about the 
Training Division (G-3) and thought it 
might be more effective as part of OPD. 
But, he insisted, there was no doubt that 
G-l and G-4 "duplicate largely the work 
which must perforce be carried out by the 
Army Service Forces" and by the supply 
units of the AAF Somervell added that in 
matters of supply and administration, it 
was often impracticable to separate policy 
from operations because "the enforcement 

of the policy inevitably tends to become 
the actual operation of that policy with all 
of the extra administrative detail and per- 
sonnel required for an additional agency 
to do the work of another." General Som- 
ervell further pointed out that broad op- 
erational plans originated with the 
Operations Division of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff, but that detailed 
planning necessarily had to be performed 
by the staffs of the three major commands. 
He "seriously doubted" whether G-l and 
G-4 were generally consulted about op- 
erational plans. If they were consulted, 
they did little except perhaps to delay and 
confuse the final decisions. The only pos- 
sible justification for G-l and G-4 was to 
render "decisions on controversial matters 
which might arise between the Army Air 
Forces, the Army Ground Forces, and the 
Army Service Forces. . . ." But there 
should be no fear that the ASF in acting 
for the War Department would be inclined 
to make decisions favoring itself above the 
AAF and the AGF, because the only rea- 
son for the existence of the Army Service 
Forces was to serve the combat forces and 
all decisions would have to be made in 
their favor. As between the two, the ASF 
was as disinterested as the War Depart- 
ment General Staff. 

Somervell then observed that there ap- 
peared to be "some duplication of effort" 
between the Logistics Section in the OPD 
of the WDGS and the staff of the ASF and 
the AAF. The planners of the Army Serv- 
ice Forces were in "close and daily con- 
tact" with the OPD, they attended Gen- 
eral Handy's daily conferences, and they 
had more detailed and more up-to-date 
logistical information than the OPD itself. 
Indeed, one purpose of the supply plan- 
ners of the ASF was "to serve the Opera- 
tions Division." 



General Somervell therefore recom- 
mended that G-l and G-4 Divisions of 
the WDGS be abolished, that the Logistics 
Group in the OPD be eliminated, and 
that the Deputy Chief of Staff be assigned 
the function of deciding "controversial 
questions" which might arise between the 
three commands. These changes were "in 
the interest of efficient conservation of per- 
sonnel, and in conservation of effort." If the 
changes were approved, the ASF would 
absorb the personnel thus released in ap- 
propriate assignments in the Army Service 
Forces. 9 

General Somervell's memorandum 
came as a bombshell to the War Depart- 
ment. It was referred to all of the staff 
divisions of the General Staff for comment. 
The very fact that General Marshall 
turned the memorandum over to these 
divisions indicated that he was not in- 
clined to accept the changes suggested. As 
should have been expected, the recom- 
mendations were strongly opposed by the 
staff divisions. 10 

The objections to his recommendations 
did not discourage Somervell. On 1 June 
1943 he submitted another proposal, 
through the medium of an ASF paper at- 
tached to a memorandum to Marshall, 
dealing with the organization of service 
activities in overseas theaters. In this paper 
he once more suggested that the G-l and 
G-4 Divisions of the General Staff be 
abolished because their activities largely 
duplicated work done by the ASF and the 
AAF. It again expressed the opinion that 
G-3 would probably be more effective as 
a part of the Operations Division of the 
General Staff. Much of the reasoning pre- 
viously put forth in Somervell's other 
memorandum to the Chief of Staff was re- 
peated. The paper mentioned again that 
there was little need for either G-l or G-4 

to serve as an umpire between the three 
major commands. It added that if the sug- 
gested elimination of G-l and G-4 should 
prove in practice to be undesirable, it 
would be relatively simple to re-establish 
them. 11 

The opposition to General Somervell's 
proposals was again almost unanimous. 
This is understandable because basically 
the proposal would make the Army Serv- 
ice Forces a logistics command post of the 
War Department in much the same man- 
ner as the Operations Division was the 
strategic command post. If adopted, the 
commanding general of the ASF would be 
both a staff and command officer. In short, 
the General Staff would be abolished and 
OPD and ASF would dominate the field. 

As already indicated, OPD's opposition 
to the proposal probably stemmed from 
the fear that it would not be able to hold 
its own against the ASF. Operational plans 
depended so heavily on logistics that in 
time OPD might have become subordi- 
nate to the Army Service Forces. Particu- 
larly in a postwar period, experience had 
shown that service elements increased 
their power at the expense of other ele- 
ments. Through the control of allotments, 
funds, and personnel, a service com- 
mander could practically run the Army. 
The bugaboo of the old "bureaus" and 
their struggle against the General Staff 
idea was recalled, and an OPD study 
pointed to the possibility that the Chief of 
Staff might lose control of the Army. Gen^ 
eral Handy of the Operations Division 
strongly supported the staff concept, op- 
posed what he called Somervell's attempt 

9 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 3 Apr 43, sub: Sug- 
gested Changes in Org of the WD, Hq ASF. 

10 G-4 files, Hist Recs Sec, AGO. 

11 Memo for CofS, 1 Jun 43, sub: Reorg of Sv Ac- 
tivities, Hq ASF, CofS. 



to abolish the staff, and endorsed the 
strengthening of G-l and G-4 by return- 
ing many of the functions they had lost. At 
the same time, OPD vigorously defended 
its own Logistics Group and felt that its 
abolition would be a step backward. 12 
Even General Moses, the G-4, who usu- 
ally supported Somervell's program, went 
along with the opposition on this issue. In 
a memorandum to Somervell on 3 June, 
he noted that he approved the "basic 
thought" of a service commander for all 
operating ground forces, but expressed the 
belief that the Service Forces commander 
should not also be a "staff officer." He ob- 
jected emphatically to the elimination of 
the "staff system taught to all of us before 
the war and in common use everywhere 
now." He added that the memorandum 
discussing this subject was "too one-sided" 
for presentation to the Chief of Staff and 
that it contained "erroneous state- 
ments." 13 In particular, G-4 felt it had an 
essential role to play as an arbitrator be- 
tween the Ground Forces, the Air Forces, 
and the Service Forces, and in overseeing 
the operations of the ASF itself. 

General McNair, the commanding gen- 
eral of the Army Ground Forces, also op- 
posed the ASF proposal. In a memoran- 
dum to Somervell, he pointed out that the 
ASF staff "aggregates over 20,000, while 
G-l and G-4 of the War Department 
aggregates 90. If there is duplication of 
personnel and effort, it is in your house. In 
general, the modern headquarters is a 
fearful and wonderful thing." Nor was 
McNair impressed by the argument that 
General Staff divisions tended to interfere 
in operations. No one could delineate be- 
tween policy making and operations and 
the whole question was "quite irrelevant." 
There could be only one kind of command 
of combat forces or of theaters of opera- 
tions, "over-all command," and there was 

no "such animal as administrative com- 
mand." Somervell's proposals tended to 
disrupt the "unity of over-all command." 
McNair concluded: 

I believe in your ASF because you are es- 
sentially the commander of the zone of in- 
terior. . . . But I do not admit that you are 
responsible for the logistic operations in the 
War Department or in overseas theaters. G-4 
is the proper adviser of the Chief of Staff on 
logistic policies, even though such is not the 
case today due to the force of your person- 
ality. 14 

It is doubtful whether McNair clearly 
understood Somervell's proposals. Cer- 
tainly the concept of a service commander 
was not intended by any means to impair 
the responsibility of the corps, the Army, 
or the theater commander for service ac- 
tivities. Rather the proposal was only ex- 
pected to give a combat commander what 
the ASF thought would be a more ade- 
quate organizational arrangement for 
performing his supply and service activi- 
ties. The crux of the situation was ac- 
knowledged by McNair in his admission 
that Somervell was, in fact, the G-4 of the 
War Department as well as the command- 
ing general of the Army Service Forces. 
The question was whether a subordinate 
commander should also be a major staff 
adviser to the Chief of Staff. 

In addition to reflecting the realities of 
War Department organization as it oper- 
ated during the war, Somervell's recom- 
mendations further evidenced the peculiar 
composition of the ASF itself. Before 9 
March 1942, as noted earlier, G-4 of the 

12 Memo, Handy to Somervell, 6 Apr 43, OPD 320, 
WD 1; Draft Study, 26Jun 43, title: Notes on Pro- 
posed Org of Sv Activities, OPD 320, 53. 

13 Memo, Moses for Somervell. 3 Jun 43, sub: Re- 
org of Sv Activities, WD G-4 020, Vol. I. 

II Memo, McNair for Somervell, 24 Jun 43, sub: 
Reorg of Sv Activities, Hq ASF, AGF (1943-44). The 
memo was signed by the AGF chief of staff with the 
place for McNair's signature vacant. 



War Department General Staff and the 
Office of the Under Secretary of War had 
jointly supervised the procurement and 
supply operations of those large War De- 
partment units which were now called 
technical services. Instead of serving as a 
staff officer supervising these technical 
services, however, Somervell had become 
a commander with direct authority to 
issue orders to these agencies. Yet Somer- 
vell still looked upon himself as the G-4 of 
the War Department and, in fact, he had 
become General Marshall's principal ad- 
viser on all supply and movement matters. 

The kind of formal relationship Somer- 
vell envisaged did in fact exist between 
General Marshall and General Arnold. 
As the commander of the AAF, Arnold 
was far more than the head of a training 
and supply command within the United 
States. He and his staff were the principal 
War Department agents directing air op- 
erations in overseas theaters. This special 
status of the commanding gener al of the 
Army Air Forces during the war has been 
recognized in the official history of the 
AAF. ". . . Regardless of the legal posi- 
tion of the AAF as a service and training 
organization without combat functions, its 
chief was in fact a most powerful agent in 
the conduct of war in the several thea- 
ters." 15 In overseas commands, the head 
of the Air Forces was also the chief air 
planner for the commanding general. In 
a letter to General Spaatz on 30 July 1942, 
Arnold clearly indicated his idea of desira- 
ble organization for air activities: "In con- 
nection with planning," he wrote, "I 
would like to have you see Eisenhower and 
get him to accept your headquarters as his 
air planning unit. Get him to use you in 
that way as he is the head of the United 
States Armed Forces in Europe. I want 
him to recognize you as the top air man in 
all Europe." 16 

The organizational difficulty within the 
War Department was simply that the con- 
cept of staff organization, as advanced by 
the Harbord Board in its recommenda- 
tions of 1921, had apparently been frozen 
in the minds of most Army officers. Con- 
fronted with a situation involving numer- 
ous separate operating units, the War 
Department had developed the concept of 
a general staff which enabled a com- 
mander to deal effectively with all of these 
agencies. Few seemed to realize that when 
the number of subordinate operating units 
was reduced, one of two situations could 
result: the prior staff organization might 
become unnecessarily elaborate, or the 
subordinate commanders would now have 
a much larger point of view and accord- 
ingly be prepared to present plans which 
previously had depended on staff en- 

Following the rejection of Somervell's 
reorganization proposals, the General Staff 
assumed the offensive and sought to re- 
establish its position. The subsequent his- 
tory of the relations between G-4 and the 
Army Service Forces is a case in point. 

On 2 July 1943, the Secretary of War 
created a War Department Procurement 
Review Board with instructions to examine 
procurement plans and machinery of the 
ASF and the AAF. 17 From a technical 
point of view, the recommendations of the 
board were important, for they brought 

15 Craven and Cate, AAF I, p. 576. 
"Ibid., pp. 590-91. 

17 WD SO 183, 2 Jul 43. Director of War Mobili- 
zation James F. Byrnes wrote to Secretary Stimson 
on 24 June 1943 repeating in part a suggestion by the 
Bureau of the Budget to the War Department on 8 
May 1943. Secretary Stimson's reply to Justice Byrnes, 
and General Marshall's instructions to the chairman 
of the War Department Procurement Review Board 
were drafted by General Clay of Somervell's staff. In 
turn, Somervell on 1 July 1943 instructed Generals 
Clay, Lutes, Gross, and C. F. Robinson to furnish the 
board with "full information." This correspondence is 
in Hq ASF, Procurement Review Board. 



about changes in the calculation of the 
Army Supply Program. 18 But these tech- 
nical changes are not of major interest 
here. The board commented several times 
that G-4 should check the methods used 
to calculate the Army Supply Program or 
otherwise exercise supervision over the 
ASF. Thereafter, the influence of G-4 was 
greater, or at least ASF found it expedient 
to keep G-4 fully informed about what it 
was doing. 

This development did not substantially 
change ASF relations with G-4 although 
two conflicts, one toward the close of 1944 
and the other in 1945, did take place. On 
24 September 1944 ASF requested the 
War Department for permission to disre- 
gard computed requirements for a two- 
front war in 1945 when those requirements 
exceeded production capacity as of De- 
cember 1944. This request was contrary to 
a memorandum from G-4. Early in Octo- 
ber the Deputy Chief of Staff told General 
Somervell that his proposal was generally 
acceptable. He indicated that G-4 would 
gradually adjust total requirements for all 
supplies downward. But since G-4 did not 
wish to make revisions until 1 July 1945, 
Somervell, on 13 October again wrote the 
Chief of Staff. He argued that the progress 
of the war to date was such that the War 
Department could afford to take the risk 
of not building additional production fa- 
cilities for items of equipment whose de- 
mand would increase in 1945. The Army 
Service Forces had prepared a separate 
procurement program for the war against 
Japan, and contractors had already been 
informed of the expected changes in pro- 
duction schedules occasioned by the shift 
from a two-front to a one-front war. 19 

This time Somervell's recommendation 
was officially accepted, and the ASF was 
instructed not to attempt to procure sup- 

plies in the first half of 1945 in excess of 
existing production capacity. Thus the re- 
luctance of the Supply Division to approve 
a reduction of supply requirements as of 
1 January 1945 was overruled. 

Another conflict between ASF and G^l 
arose after V-J Day over the subject of re- 
serve supplies to be kept by the Army. The 
Army Service Forces suggested that items 
such as guns, tanks, and ammunition, 
which would continue to be of use to the 
Army, should be retained, while other 
items of general supplies, such as tents, 
axes, clothing, building equipment, trucks, 
and railroad rolling stock, should be re- 
leased. Somervell believed that such a 
policy would make a substantial contribu- 
tion toward easing civilian shortages. G-4 
objected to the ASF proposal because it 
feared that the War Department might 
have difficulty in the postwar years in ob- 
taining appropriations to purchase new 
supplies. 20 Confronted by conflicting rec- 
ommendations, the Secretary of War (now 
Mr. Patterson, the former Under Secre- 
tary) in November 1945 appointed a 
board of officers to review both proposals. 
Eventually, a compromise was effected. 

That such difficulties arising from the 
anomalous relationship of the ASF and 
G-4 did not become more formidable 
was largely the result of Somervell's own 
aggressive behavior in pushing the work of 

18 The report of the Procurement Review Board 
and other documents arising out of the board's work 
were collected in two volumes which were multilithed 
and distributed by the Office of the Deputy Chief of 
Staff under the title, Levels of Supply and Supply 
Procedures, 1 January 1944. The report of the Pro- 
curement Review Board was Appendix B; See also 
Annual Rptof ASF, 1944, pp. 101-04. 

19 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 23 Oct 44, sub: The 
Army Sup Program, Hq ASF, CofS. 

20 This account is based upon a discussion sum- 
marized in the staff conference minutes of the ASF 
for 30 November 1945. 



the ASF. On supply matters in particular 
there was no one in the War Department 
General Staff, especially in G-4, who felt 
it necessary to question the performance of 
the ASF. Had that performance ever been 
less than exemplary, the record of ASF- 
General Staff relationships might well 
have been very different. 

In the spring of 1943 Somervell was in- 
terested not only in a reorganization of the 
WDGS but also in setting up a standard 
organization for supply and service activi- 
ties performed within large combat units 
and in overseas theaters. The "basic idea" 
for the memorandum on organization of 
service activities in theaters of operations, 
signed by Somervell on 1 June 1943, was 
"to effect unity of command — of linking 
responsibility and authority — over-all sup- 
ply and administrative matters in each 
theater and in each tactical unit through 
one individual responsible to the com- 
mander both as a staff officer and as the 
commander of service troops." One pur- 
pose of the proposal was "to eliminate the 
present duplications between the adminis- 
trative side of the General Staff (G-l and 
G-4), the special staff, and the com- 
manders of certain supply and administra- 
tive areas, units, and installations by 
bringing them under a single logistical 
control at both the staff and line levels." A 
second purpose was to reduce the number 
of special staff officers reporting directly to 
a military commander. 

In essence, Somervell's suggestion 
amounted to this. A military commander, 
whether of a division, an army, an army 
group, or of a theater of operations, should 
have a small staff made up of two units, 
one on intelligence and the other on oper- 
ations. He would then have such subordi- 
nate combat commanders as might be 
assigned to his command, plus a single 

individual commanding all services, sup- 
ply, and administrative activities. This 
supply commander would advise the op- 
erations staff on the administrative and 
supply aspects of all proposed military 
operations and would similarly advise the 
commanding general himself He would 
then be responsible for executing supply 
and service aspects of the proposed mili- 
tary operations. In a sense, these recom- 
mendations did no more than suggest a 
standard organization for large combat 
commands and overseas theaters similar 
to the arrangement which in reality al- 
ready existed for the War Department in 
the United States. 21 

In October 1 943 the War Department 
did suggest a standard organization for 
overseas theaters and published instruc- 
tions "for the information and guidance of 
all concerned." 22 One part of the circular 
dealt with the organization of large com- 
bat units, such as corps and armies; an- 
other with the organization of a "commu- 
nications zone." The circular suggested 
that, in the interests of economy and 
efficiency, unnecessary decentralization 
and dispersion of supply activities should 
be avoided. Consolidated supply and re- 
pair depots were more efficient than small 
establishments and the storage of theater 
supplies in a few rather than many places 
would simplify inventory control and re- 
duce inventory levels. The recommenda- 
tions also emphasized that it was essential 
to clear ports of debarkation rapidly. A 
general concept was set forth that the 
hospitals, the signal service, the engineer 
construction service, and the transporta- 
tion service of the communications zone 
should serve the entire theater. 

!1 Memo, ASF for CofS, 1 Jun 43, sub: Reorg of 
Sv Cornels, vv/incl on theater sv orgs, G-4 020, Vol. I. 
22 WD Cir 256, 16 Oct 43. 



Organization charts attached to the 
circular sketched a desirable organization 
for a theater of operations. Under the 
headquarters of the theater, there were 
four component commands: two armies, 
an air force, and a communications zone. 
This same chart indicated the component 
parts of the suggested communications 
zone. These were six in number, consisting 
of a Base Section, an Intermediate Section, 
an Advanced Section, a Transportation 
Service, a Communications Service, and a 
Construction Service. Four supporting 
charts suggested desirable organization for 
a section (whether base, intermediate or 
advanced), a port, and a depot. 

The War Department circular, however, 
said nothing about the relationships which 
should exist between the commanding 
general of the communications zone and 
the commanding general of the theater of 
operations. It was apparently assumed that 
there would still be a G-4 on the staff of 
the theater commander and that there 
might even be such "special staff officers" 
as the commander desired. 

Thus, in the European Theater of Op- 
erations for the invasion of France, there 
was a communications zone with a com- 
manding general. There was also a G-4 
section in Supreme Headquarters, Allied 
Expeditionary Forces, which also served as 
the G-4 of the American commanding 
general (Eisenhower). There was a medi- 
cal officer for the commanding general of 
the theater, separate from the medical 
officer in the communications zone. For 
the most part, however, the chief engineer, 
the chief quartermaster, signal officer, and 
other such officers in the communications 
zone also served as the chief of the service 
for the theater as a whole. This arrange- 
ment caused considerable confusion. 

Not all overseas theaters adopted the 

pattern suggested by War Department 
Circular 256. Many variations continued 
to exist, in part because General Marshall 
believed that the overseas commander 
should make such organizational arrange- 
ments as he thought desirable. At the same 
time he encouraged Somervell to develop 
close and direct communication between 
ASF headquarters and supply officers in 
the field through overseas visits. This was 
as far as the Chief of Staff would go. 23 

General Somervell never succeeded in 
obtaining a revision of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff that reflected the 
actual situation which made him in fact 
the Chief of Staff's principal adviser on 
supply matters. Potentially, he might have 
occupied a similar status on all personnel 
matters. But he was never to have this 
status formalized in official orders. 

Somervell conceived of the ASF as a 
supply and service command which was 
prepared to do for the War Department 
Chief of Staff everything that before 1942 
had been performed by G-l, G-4, all the 
units of the so-called special staff, and the 
OUSW. He felt that this role should be 
formalized in the War Department struc- 
ture and in overseas commands. He was 
in effect the advocate of a wholly new con- 
cept of staff and command for the Army. 

Never at any time did he question the 
command role of the Chief of Staff of the 
Army. Nor did he question the need for a 
"general staff." He said only that formally 
the Chief of Staff should organize his staff 
into two units — an intelligence unit and 
an operations unit. Somervell recognized 
also that the operations unit would neces- 
sarily have to be large; it probably would 

23 The Control Division, ASF, collected charts of 
overseas supply organizations which were analyzed 
at the end of the war in a staff paper. This paper 
was never used outside the division. 



require personnel and troop organization 
groups as well as a logistics group within 
it. But Somervell thought the real plan- 
ning should be carried on in the head- 
quarters of the Army Air Forces, the Army 
Ground Forces, and the Army Service 

General Marshall's attitude toward the 
Somervell proposals can only be deduced 
from the events. There is no evidence that 
he discouraged Somervell from submitting 
his suggestions. But neither did he push 
them after he received them. Marshall 
probably regarded the whole issue as the- 
oretical, or perhaps as relatively unimpor- 
tant. He was undoubtedly fairly well 
satisfied with War Department organiza- 
tion as it was functioning in 1943. The 
proposed changes would not have made 

any real change in Somervell's status, and 
Marshall was presumably more interested 
in the realities than in the formalities of 
individual position and authority. With 
his well-known belief that "details" should 
be left to the overseas commanders, Mar- 
shall was also satisfied to let personalities 
and performance in the theaters of opera- 
tions determine the desirable and work- 
able organizational arrangements. He 
could see no real reason for making a 
change in 1943, and so he let his staff 
argue as they wished the niceties of organ- 
izational structure. Fo r the duration of the 
war nothing came of the whole discussion. 
Somervell's authority remained as before. 
In fact he was still the supply staff and the 
supply command of the War Department 
when the war ended. 


The Transfer of ASF Activities 
to the War Department Staff 

The place of the Army Service Forces in 
the structure of the War Department was 
never clearly understood or defined dur- 
ing the course of World War II. Was the 
ASF simply a new, consolidated command 
with certain operating responsibilities but 
subordinate to the broad planning duties 
of the War Department General Staff? Or 
was it a kind of consolidated staff and cen- 
tral service agency for the War Depart- 
ment, essentially different from the Army 
Ground Forces and the Army Air Forces? 

Within the structure of the War Depart- 
ment, the position of the ASF had to be 
determined in practice by groups other 
than General Somervell and his staff. The 
relations which were crucial in this deter- 
mination were those between the ASF and 
the WDGS, the Air Forces, and the Army 
Ground Forces. The controversies with the 
Air Forces and G-4, WDGS, have already 
been noted. The first resulted in some cur- 
tailment of the role of the ASF. In its con- 
test with OPD of the War Department 
General Staff, the ASF fared somewhat 
better. To be sure, Somervell's position as 
logistical planner for the Chief of Staff was 
never officially recognized, at least not in 
the manner he desired, but on the other 
hand, the Operations Division of the 
WDGS did not succeed in having the 

function of the ASF limited to an "oper- 
ating" supply agency subordinate to its 
own logistical and operational planning. 
Yet while the ASF remained throughout 
the war as the "supply planner" of the 
Chief of Staff, some other staff functions 
exercised by the ASF were transferred to 
units officially designated as War Depart- 
ment General or Special Staff Divisions. 
Before reviewing further the basic issues 
involving ASF status in the War Depart- 
ment it will be necessary to enumerate the 
changes which were made in the duties of 
the ASF as a central staff agency. 

Public Relations 

When the Army Service Forces was set 
up in March 1942, General Somervell 
created a public relations unit in his head- 
quarters. The personnel and activities of 
this unit were brought into the ASF from 
the Office of the Under Secretary of War, 
who had had an Industrial Information 
Division primarily concerned with publi- 
cizing the procurement problems of the 
War Department. Actually many of the 
employees of this unit had been recruited 
by the Bureau of Public Relations (BPR) 
of the War Department and were carried 
on the bureau's pay roll, although physi- 



cally located in the Under Secretary's 
office. 1 

In the summer of 1942 Secretary Stim- 
son sponsored a study of public relations 
organization and activities in the War De- 
partment. As a result, he directed that all 
public relations work was to be concen- 
trated in the BPR which reported directly 
to him. At the same time, the Secretary 
indicated that the commanding generals 
of each of the three commands within the 
United States, and other organizations 
such as those of the chiefs of technical 
services, might maintain offices of techni- 
cal information. Such offices, however, 
would release no information directly to 
the press or to any other medium of com- 
munication. They would simply assist the 
Bureau of Public Relations by providing it 
with requested data and by submitting 
publicity suggestions for bureau approval. 2 

In accord with Stimson's directive, the 
Public Relations Division in ASF head- 
quarters was abolished and a greatly 
reduced Office of Technical Information 
was set up. 3 Most of the personnel of the 
division were transferred to the BPR. 
Somervell retained a single officer in his 
own office who helped him prepare 
speeches, answer inquiries, and who kept a 
watchful eye over public relations matters 
affecting the commanding general and the 
ASF as a whole. 

In 1943 the procurement activities of 
the War Department were so important 
and so pressing that special instructions 
were issued defining public relations re- 
sponsibilities in this field. 4 Three different 
parts of the Department were vitally con- 
cerned: the Under Secretary of War as the 
civilian chief supervising procurement, the 
BPR as the official agency for handling 
the details of public relations, and the ASF 
as the agency immediately concerned with 

actual procurement. Accordingly, the 
Bureau of Public Relations created as part 
of its organization an Industrial Services 
Division which was responsible for formu- 
lating and executing a public relations 
program that would result in favorable at- 
titudes toward war output by management 
and labor alike. In carrying out its mission, 
the division was to receive all policy direc- 
tion from the Under Secretary of War. In 
guiding its activities, Under Secretary 
Patterson in turn depended upon the 
labor adviser to the Secretary of War, Mr. 
Edward F. McGrady (whose office was 
actually adjacent to that of the Under 
Secretary), and upon the Industrial Per 
sonnel Division of ASF headquarters. A 
major activity of the BPR was the award- 
ing of the Army-Navy "E" to industrial 
plants achieving outstanding war produc- 
tion records. 5 The bureau also co-operated 
on specific projects with the Office of War 
Information, the labor division of the War 
Production Board, the War Manpower 
Commission, and other government agen- 
cies. An aggressive public relations pro- 
gram was an important phase of War 
Department procurement efforts. 

The Army Service Forces was, of neces- 
sity, vitally interested in the activities of 
the Industrial Services Division of the War 
Department Bureau of Public Relations. 
The association between the two agencies 
was very close and friendly. In 1944 the 
head of the Industrial Services of BPR was 
transferred, becoming director of the In- 
dustrial Personnel Division in ASF head- 
quarters. BPR also assigned an officer to 

1 Booz Rpt, Vol. I. 

2 Memo, SW, 1+ Aug 42, sub: Reorg of Public Re- 
lations Agencies, AG 020.4 (8-13-42) MB-F-PS-M. 

a SOSCir54, 29 Aug 42. 

4 WDCir 251, 14 Oct 43. 

5 Ibid. 



the staff" of each service command to carry 
on its work at industrial plants within the 
geographical area of the service command. 
Direct communication was authorized be- 
tween these service command officers and 
the BPR. 8 

This organization of public relations ac- 
tivities proved satisfactory in every way. 
General Somervell clearly understood that 
public relations was a basic responsibility 
for the War Department as a whole and 
should be performed under the personal 
direction of the Secretary of War. He had 
no occasion to protest the arrangement 
because it never slighted or interfered with 
the ASF's role within the Department's 
organization. In the specialized field of in- 
dustrial public relations, for example, the 
Secretary delegated his responsibility to 
the Under Secretary. Since Somervell was 
the principal adviser to the Under Secre- 
tary on procurement matters, he and his 
staff had ample opportunity to make such 
suggestions, especially through the Indus- 
trial Personnel Division, which worked di- 
rectly with the BPR on details of procure- 
ment public relations. 


War Department Circular 59 of 1942 — 
the reorganization "bible" — specified that 
the Army Service Forces would be respon- 
sible for preparing War Department 
budget estimates, for defending them be- 
fore the Bureau of the Budget and Con- 
gress, and for controlling fiscal policy. 
There were several reasons for this ar- 
rangement. In the past, the Assistant Chief 
of Staff, G-4, had been designated as the 
aide to the Secretary of War and the Chief 
of Staff on budget matters. As G-4 Somer- 
vell had performed this function, and he 
continued to do so as commanding general 

of the Army Service Forces. In addition, 
budgeting depended heavily upon the ac- 
counting records of the Chief of Finance, 
who was now under the supervision of the 
Commanding General, ASF. Then too, 
the peculiarities of War Department ap- 
propriation practice resulted in most Con- 
gressional appropriations being made 
formally to the chiefs of technical services 
and the Chief of Finance, all of whom 
were under the ASF. The only important 
exceptions were the appropriation to the 
Air Corps for the procurement and main- 
tenance of aircraft, and to the Department 
as a whole for expediting production. 
Finally, since the Army Service Forces was 
created to be the administrative agency of 
the War Department as a whole, budget- 
ing was logically one of the tasks assigned 
to it. 

Wartime budget practices did not actu- 
ally provide the occasion for review of or 
decision on fundamental military policies. 
The basic plans of the War Department 
for the size, composition, and deployment 
of the Army were determined within the 
General Staff. The limitations to these 
plans were not a matter of finances but of 
resources: the manpower, industrial, and 
technological strength of the nation. The 
Army Supply Program was adjusted pri- 
marily to fit the natural resources and the 
industrial facilities that the War Produc- 
tion Board decided were available to the 
Army. The budget merely reflected these 
basic decisions. After Pearl Harbor the 
general temper of the House Appropria- 
tions Committee and of the entire Con- 
gress was simply that, in terms of money, 
the War Department could have whatever 
it asked for. In the first seven months after 
Pearl Harbor, Congress appropriated 104 

a Ibid. 



billion dollars to the War Department. 7 
Thereafter, the War Department each 
year for the remainder of the war simply 
requested sums as needed to supplement 
this overwhelming amount voted at the 
beginning of the war. 

At the conclusion of the budget hearing 
before the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee in June 1943, the chairman of the 
subcommittee passed along a word of ad- 
vice to the Under Secretary of War. Mr. J. 
Buell Snyder remarked that it had been 
his observation during the course of the 
hearings that the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff was "getting out of touch, in a 
sense, with department administration." 
He noted that some branch chiefs did not 
seem to be closely in touch with activities 
at home or in theaters of operations. This 
was apparently a criticism of the ASF, and 
of the subordination of chiefs of technical 
services. Mr. Snyder went on to say he 
thought "that a mistake was made in tak- 
ing the budget function out of the War 
Department General Staff." While he 
acknowledged that the ASF was doing a 
good job, he expressed his belief that 
"money runs the Army and controls every 
phase of its activity and that the control of 
the purse should be a General Staff func- 
tion. . . ." He felt that the ASF should 
continue in an accounting capacity, but 
believed there would be greater co-ordina- 
tion and economy "if there were a budget 
desk re-established in the General 
Staff. ..." Mr. Snyder suggested, and 
Mr. Patterson agreed, that the subject 
would be brought to the attention of the 
Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff. 8 
In making his observations Mr. Snyder 
gave no detailed argument to support his 
views. He asked merely that the position 
of the budget officer in War Department 
organization be reconsidered. 

Since the suggestion of a chairman of a 
House appropriations subcommittee is one 
to be taken seriously by the department 
concerned, the Fiscal Director of the ASF, 
Maj. Gen. A. H. Carter, immediately pre- 
pared a memorandum on the subject for 
Judge Patterson. He recommended a 
prompt reply by the Under Secretary to 
Chairman Snyder defending the existing 
organization of the War Department. His 
action, General Carter thought, might 
persuade the chairman to withdraw his 
comment before the hearings were finally 
printed. Somervell approved of this rec- 
ommendation, and a copy of it was sent to 
General McNarney, the Deputy Chief of 
Staff. Under Secretary Patterson agreed 
with General Carter and signed a letter 
drafted for him. But the letter was with- 
drawn at McNarney's request before it 
reached the chairman of the House sub- 

Somervell then wrote to General Mar- 
shall and summarized this sequence of 
events. He noted that one way to carry out 
Mr. Snyder's desire would be to re-estab- 
lish general budget responsibility along 
the lines of the former Legislative and 
Planning Branch of the War Department 
General Staff. He doubted whether this 
would be as effective as the present ar- 
rangement and asserted that "the broad 
budgetary policy of the War Department 
is now and should be under the complete 
control of the Chief of Staff." General 
Somervell added that if the existing "or- 
ganizational set-up" implied otherwise, he 
would recommend that the Deputy Chief 

' Annual Rptof ASF, 1943, p. 193. 

8 Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on 
Appropriations, H. R., 78th Cong, 1st Sess, on Military 
Establishment Appropriation Bill for 1944, pp. 



of Staff deal directly with the budget 
officer on all matters of policy "without 
reference through the Army Service 
Forces." General Somervell went on to 
point out that of the 120 billion dollars ap- 
propriated to the War Department from 
1 July 1941 to 1 July 1943, about 104 bil- 
lion dollars was for equipment and sup- 
plies whose procurement was supervised 
by the Under Secretary. Furthermore, the 
ASF, under the War Deparement reorgan- 
ization, had "just completed the assembly 
of all budgetary and fiscal functions under 
one head," the new organization was 
"functioning efficiently," and it would be 
a "backward step to dismember it by 
pulling from it the budget operations 
which are inextricably tied in with the 
proper administration of the over-all 
fiscal operations of the War Department." 
General Somervell presented three recom- 
mendations: one, that the present organ- 
ization be maintained; two, that the pres- 
sent budget officer continue to act under 
the policy direction of the Under Secre- 
tary of War and the Deputy Chief of Staff; 
and three, that the Chief of Staff concur 
in the Under Secretary's letter for Mr. 
Snyder, signed on 15 June 1943. "These 
recommendations would place in the Gen- 
eral Staff satisfactory control of the War 
Department budget policy, and, at the 
same time, preserve the present well-in- 
tegrated functions of budget and fiscal op- 
erations in one organization." 9 

General Somervell's memorandum ap- 
parently was unconvincing for in July 
1943, the War Department issued orders 
removing the War Department budget of- 
fice "from the jurisdiction of the Fiscal 
Division, Army Service Forces," and re- 
designating it the Budget Division, War 
Department Special Staff. 10 The imme- 
diate consequence was to transfer an 

officer with a small staff from General 
Carter's office in the ASF to the War De- 
partment Special Staff. This new Budget 
Division necessarily had to rely upon the 
Fiscal Director of the ASF for information 
and even advice. No fundamental change 
in either budgeting or accounting prac- 
tices followed. But at least the appearance 
was now created that the War Department 
Special Staff, and not a subordinate com- 
mand, was in charge of budgeting. 

The change provided some satisfaction 
to the Army Air Forces, which as early as 
27 June 1942 had suggested that the War 
Department staff rather than the ASF 
should exercise the budget function. 11 
In 1944 the Air Forces and the budget 
officer of the War Department suggested 
that the Chief of Finance should be trans- 
ferred from the Army Service Forces to a 
separate status under the budget officer; 
the position of Fiscal Director in the ASF 
would then be abolished. This proposal 
must have been unacceptable to both the 
Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War as 
well as to the ASF, since no such order was 

One consequence of the transfer of the 
budget function from the ASF to the War 
Department Special Staff was to encour- 
age the further growth of this part of War 
Department organization. Another result, 
at least, in the budget field, was to draw a 
sharp distinction between the War De- 
partment General Staff proper as the top 
policy-determining level and the Army 
Service Forces as an operating agency. 
The accounting work remained in the 

9 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 19 Jun 43, sub: Org 
and Functions of WD Budget Office, Hq ASF, Fiscal 

10 WD GO 3 7, 7 Jul 43. 

11 See above, [p. 124:] 



ASF; top budget policy direction as a staff 
activity did not. 12 

The Civil Affairs Division 

Shortly after the Army Service Forces 
was created, the War Department began 
preparations for the military government 
of occupied areas taken over from the Axis 
powers. Proposals for training personnel 
were developed within the Provost Mar- 
shal General's office, and led to the estab- 
lishment of a School of Military Govern- 
ment at the University of Virginia in May 
1942. 13 The Provost Marshal General also 
set up a small unit in Washington to plan 
general policies for military government. 
Actual experience in military government 
in World War II began in November 1942 
with operations in North Africa. One of 
the,first questions that arose to complicate 
policy was whether French Morocco and 
Algeria should be regarded as conquered 
enemy territory or as that of an ally to be 
used as a base for further military oper- 
ations. 14 But in preparing for the invasion 
of Sicily, there was no question about the 
need for or the status of military govern- 
ment since the area was unmistakably 
enemy territory. 

Toward the end of 1942, President 
Roosevelt had created an Office of Foreign 
Relief and Rehabilitation Operations 
within the State Department under the di- 
rection of former governor Herbert H. 
Lehman of New York. This office was as- 
signed general responsibility for planning 
relief in areas liberated from Axis control. 
Necessarily, its interests and those of the 
ASF were closely related. In the spring of 
1943 Lehman called upon Stimson and 
pointed out that the Secretary's organiza- 
tion had failed to provide him with ade- 
quate means and powers to carry out his 

assignment. Governor Lehman drew at- 
tention to the fact that the operating 
agency in military government, the Pro- 
vost Marshal General's office, was many 
echelons removed from the Secretary of 
War's office. This seemed to him to be too 
low an echelon to represent the Secretary 
of War in negotiations with the Depart- 
ment of State on vital matters pertaining 
to occupied and liberated areas. 15 

Shortly thereafter, the War Department 
issued a memorandum creating the Civil 
Affairs Division in the War Department 
Special Staff. 16 While the Provost Marshal 
General continued to conduct training 
programs for military government officials 
under policies prescribed by the Civil 
Affairs Division, this division became the 
center of all War Department planning on 
military government policies. The Inter- 
national Division in ASF headquarters in 
time also played a major role in military 
government planning, since its function 
was to supervise arrangements for War 
Department's purchase and distribution of 
civilian supplies in occupied areas. The 
ASF Industrial Personnel Division han- 
dled many personnel and labor matters 
for overseas commanders of occupied 
areas, while the ASF Fiscal Director han- 

12 Goldthwaite Dorr records that General Orders 
37 was issued from the Chief of Staff 's office by Gen- 
eral McNarney without Judge Patterson's knowl- 
edge. Secretary Stimson was preparing for a trip 
overseas at the moment and apparently approved the 
order without discussing it or without realizing that 
his Under Secretary disapproved of it. When Secre- 
tary Stimson returned, neither General Somervell nor 
Under Secretary Patterson were then disposed to raise 
the issue again. Dorr, Memorandum Notes, pp. 

13 Annual Report of the Services of Supply, 1942, p. 90. 
11 Memo, Styer to Somervell, 25 Feb 43, Hq ASF, 

Civil Affairs Div 1943-44. 

15 This is the story told the writer by one of Gov- 
ernor Lehman's staff assistants, Dr. Luther H. Gulick. 

18 WD Memo 10-1-43, 4 May 43. 



died currency matters. The work of all 
these units was performed under general 
policies officially emanating from the Civil 
Affairs Division. 

Research and Development 

Within the Army Service Forces the 
basic responsibility for research and devel- 
opment of new weapons remained with the 
seven technical services. A small ASF 
headquarters unit kept itself informed in 
a general way on research and develop- 
ment matters, attempted to prevent ob- 
vious duplication of effort, and helped the 
technical services whenever they encoun- 
tered difficulties in obtaining raw mate- 
rials or facilities for research purposes. The 
actual initiative in research matters, how- 
ever, remained largely in the hands or the 
technical services, working closely with the 
using arms. 

Secretary Stimson was especially inter- 
ested in research and development mat- 
ters, and one of his purposes, as he himself 
has pointed out, was to make clear to the 
Department and to scientific leaders that 
it was the policy of the War Department 
to make use of scientific help in every part 
of the Army's work. 17 Soon after assuming 
office he asked one of his associates, Mr. 
Harvey H. Bundy, to follow scientific 
matters for him. Mr. Bundy was aided by 
Dr. Edward L. Bowles. 

A former Chief of Ordnance, Maj. Gen. 
C. C. Williams, was recalled to active duty 
to handle ASF headquarters' interests in 
research. This arrangement was not very 
satisfactory to Dr. Bowles. As early as No- 
vember 1942, a special section on new 
weapons had been created under the As- 
sistant Chief of Staff, G-4, of the War 
Department General Staff. In September 
1943 Mr. Bundy and Dr. Vannevar Bush 

of the Office of Scientific Research and 
Development suggested to Secretary Stim- 
son that a new weapons unit should be set 
up as a separate part of the War Depart- 
ment Special Staff. 18 A New Developments 
Division was proposed and Somervell's 
opinion requested. Somervell referred the 
matter to General Clay, ASF director of 
materiel, who protested vigorously that 
there would be little purpose in adding a 
staff at War Department level to supervise 
staff responsibilities already exercised at 
ASF level. Stimson nevertheless decided 
in favor of the recommendations of Mr. 
Bundy and Dr. Bush, 19 and in October a 
War Department circular was issued set- 
ting up the New Developments Division. 20 
This division, initially under the direction 
of Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Henry, formerly 
head of the Armored Forces School at Fort 
Knox, gave primary attention to the prob- 
lem of demonstrating new weapons and 
equipment to overseas commanders. In 
addition, it followed many phases of re- 
search work within the United States. The 
New Developments Division tended to 
duplicate some of the work of the Research 
and Development Division of the ASF 
staff. In a special report submitted to Gen- 
eral Somervell in January 1945 the ASF 
staff division pointed to much overlapping 
and duplication of activities. 21 But since 

17 Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and 
War, p. 465. 
"Ibid., p. 466. 

19 Goldthwaite Dorr subsequently observed about 
the New Developments Division: "So far as I had an 
impression, it was that the main value of the Division 
lay in making more effective Ed Bowles' exceptional 
technical ability, imagination, and drive. Like most 
organizational matters it reduced itself in the last 
analysis primarily to a question of personnel." Memo- 
randum Notes, p. 56. 

20 WD Cir 267, 25 Oct 43. 

21 This report was forwarded to the CG ASF with 
an accompanying memo by the. director of the Con- 
trol Division on 5 January 1945. Files, CG ASF. 



it was at a higher level, the new division 
was able to gain from other branches of 
the Military Establishment the co-opera- 
tion that an ASF agency probably could 
not have obtained. It did not actually take 
any staff responsibility away from the 
Army Service Forces but simply added a 
new agency in the War Department 
Special Staff to give greater impetus to re- 
search and development activities. 

The New Developments Division was 
generally successful in the work it under- 
took. Because of the quality of its leader- 
ship and personnel, the New Develop- 
ments Division not only made important 
contributions of its own but also probably 
stimulated ASF headquarters to greater 
interest in research and development 

National Guard and Executive for Reserve and 
Reserve Officers' Training Corps Affairs 

In May 1945, just after V-E Day, the 
War Department issued orders transfer- 
ring the National Guard Bureau and the 
Executive for Reserve and Reserve Of- 
ficers' Training Corps Affairs from Gen- 
eral Somervell's staff to the War Depart- 
ment Special Staff. 22 This action was 
intended to suggest that concern for Na- 
tional Guard and Reserve matters would 
now become especially important in War 
Department planning and that these 
agencies could better deal with the Army 
Ground Forces and the Army Air Forces 
if they were parts of the War Department 
Special Staff. During the war neither of 
these two offices was of great impor- 
tance — there was no Army Reserve Corps 
in wartime, and the National Guard had 
been incorporated into the Army of the 
United States before Pearl Harbor. This 
transfer after V-E Day forecast that it 

would be military policy to recreate the 
Reserve Corps and the National Guard 
following the defeat of Japan. 

Postwar Planning 

In May 1943 General Somervell re- 
ceived secret instructions from the Chief 
of Staff to set up a small unit in his office 
to begin planning for demobilization of 
the Army. Personnel for this task was 
quickly assembled and tentative planning 
programs laid out. In July 1943 Secretary 
Stimson and General Marshall decided 
that this activity should not be left in the 
ASF. Accordingly, a Special Planning 
Division was created as a new unit in the 
War Department Special Staff. 23 


One activity transferred to the Army 
Service Forces from the WDGS during the 
war was supervision of counterintelligence 
functions within the United States. Before 
9 March 1942 most Army counterintelli- 
gence activity within the United States 
had been performed through the corps 
area commands under the direction and 
supervision of the Intelligence Division 
(G-2) of the WDGS. When the corps 
areas came under the ASF and were trans- 
formed into service commands, counter- 
intelligence personnel remained attached 
to them but operated under the supervi- 
sion of G-2. ASF headquarters had no 
responsibility for this phase of service com- 
mand work. Finally in December 1943, 
this arrangement was terminated. In the 
meantime, the ASF had created its own 
small intelligence office, and G-2 was now 

« WD GO 39, 17 May 45. 

23 History of Planning Division, ASF, ASF Planning 
Div, II, 280. 



willing that it should take over such 
security activity as the Army had to per- 
form within the United States. 24 

There was a continuing, if not extensive, 
trend during World War II to move cer- 
tain activities performed by the Army 
Service Forces headquarters into new units 
making up the War Department Special 
Staff. When the ASF was created, it was 
Somervell's understanding that the ASF 
was in itself a kind of consolidated "special 
staff' for the War Department. On logisti- 
cal matters he conceived of the ASF as 
part of the WDGS. As noted earlier, this 
concept endured throughout the war, even 
if never formally embodied in official in- 
structions other than the original reorgani- 

zation directive of 9 March 1942. But the 
concept of the ASF as a special kind of 
"special staff' for the War Department as 
a whole gradually changed. More and 
more policy-making responsibilities were 
transferred from the ASF to direct War 
Department staff status. It appeared that 
the original role of the ASF, at least as 
Somervell understood it, was no longer 
binding in War Department organiza- 
tional practice. By the autumn of 1944 
General Somervell felt that developments 
had gone so far that it was time to raise 
formally the question with the Chief of 
Staff of the future role of the Army Service 
Forces within the War Department. 

24 WD Cir 324, 14 Dec 43. 


Further Reconsideration of 
the Role of the ASF 

General Somervell was not disposed to 
treat lightly the gradual, continuing alter- 
ation of the role of the Army Service 
Forces. As he understood it, the War De- 
partment reorganization of 1942 was 
predicated upon two or three basic ideas. 
First of all, the elaborate War Department 
General Staff system built up between 
World War I and World War II was to be 
radically altered. Second, the many 
special staff units subject only to general 
direction by the WDGS were to be re- 
duced. Third, the combat training work 
in the United States was to be concen- 
trated in two commands: the Army Air 
Forces and the Army Ground Forces. The 
third command, the ASF, was to take over 
the supply and service duties, including 
WDGS supervision of these activities. As 
far as the ASF was concerned, the General 
Staff was to remain in full control of stra- 
tegic direction of the war. 

As already noted, various pressures re- 
sulted in a transfer of some ASF activities 
to new special staff units under the direc- 
tion of the Chief of Staff. Most of these 
activities were of minor importance to the 
ASF and their transfer caused little dis- 
turbance. It was the constant attack of the 
AAF upon the role of the Army Service 
Forces which caused the greatest concern 
in ASF headquarters. If these attacks con- 

tinued and were 

(see IChapter VIII 

as successful as before 
it was reasonable to 

believe the very concept of the ASF was 

In the background of the conflict was 
the long-standing ambition of the Air 
Forces to become a separate service enjoy- 
ing equal status with the Army and the 
Navy. General Marshall and General 
Arnold had tacitly agreed that for the 
duration of World War II, Air Forces as- 
pirations for such a status were to be 
shelved. Because of this agreement, Gen- 
eral Somervell held that the ASF should 
perform supply and service duties for the 
AAF just as it was doing for the AGF and 
the overseas theaters of operations. To 
General Arnold and his colleagues this 
kind of arrangement probably appeared 
too "compromising." They did not desire 
to become too deeply tied in with War 
Department organization because it 
might make eventual separation more 

Conflict was more or less inevitable 
under such circumstances. It was brought 
to a head when Somervell in 1944 raised 
with General Marshall the whole question 
of the proper role of the Army Service 
Forces in the War Department. In order 
to understand better the whole review of 
ASF responsibilities that followed, it is 



necessary first to examine briefly the rela- 
tions that existed between the AGF and 
the ASF. It was to these relations that the 
ASF constantly referred as the desirable 
model, and it was j ust such relations that 
the Army Air Forces did not want. 

The AGF and the ASF 

The relations between the Army 
Ground Forces and the Army Service 
Forces rested upon a basic principle em- 
bodied in the War Department reorgani- 
zation of 1942: namely that command of 
combat troops in training, including the 
supply and service units organic to combat 
commands, could and should be sepa- 
rated from the command of service agen- 
cies which rendered supply and service 
support to the Army as a whole. The rela- 
tions between AGF and ASF as pre- 
scribed in Circular 59 differed on two 
essential points from those laid down for 
the AAF and the ASF. 1 The AAF was ex- 
plicitly authorized to supply the materiel 
peculiar to the Air Forces, and to control 
all Air Forces installations. No such pre- 
rogatives had been granted to the Army 
Ground Forces. The AGF was merely 
given the right to "review" the materiel 
requirements of the combat forces. It was 
assigned no control over installations even 
when used by ground force units. 2 Even 
had the opportunity to extend its author- 
ity into the areas assigned to the ASF 
existed, it is doubtful that it would have 
been done. Its commander, General Mc- 
Nair, held firmly to the conviction that 
the mission of the AGF was to provide 
trained combat units for the overseas the- 
aters. He held with equal firmness the 
view that this mission could be most effec- 
tively performed by a small operating 
headquarters which would concentrate on 

the training and organization of ground 
combat troops, leaving all other tasks to 
other War Department agencies. General 
McNair's views continued throughout the 
war, at the level of general policy, to con- 
trol the relations between the AGF and 

Although the AGF and ASF did not en- 
gage in any serious rivalry, there were 
occasional differences. These were per- 
haps inevitable since the War Department 
reorganization of 1942, while clear in gen- 
eral about the separation of functions be- 
tween the two commands, left certain 
marginal areas in which lines of authority 
were ambiguous. The progress of the war, 
moreover, created problems which had 
not been anticipated in the initial organi- 
zation of the War Department. Some ad- 
justments of the original formula there- 
fore had to follow. Furthermore, co-opera- 
tive effort by large organizations of 
markedly different types, engaged in 
highly diverse activities, is naturally sub- 
ject to misunderstanding and confusion. 
And finally, the personal attitudes and 
habits of the two commanders were 
responsible for at least some of the 
difficulties that arose. 

Certain agencies, subordinated to ASF 
in the 1942 reorganization, formulated 
policies and executed programs affecting, 
in the name of the War Department, all 
three commands alike. One such agency 
was the Office of The Adjutant General 
which, although under the ASF, was the 
War Department agency for the Army- 
wide initial classification and assignment 
of personnel. In this duty The Adjutant 
General had the delicate task of adjudicat- 
ing, in the best interests of the Army as a 
whole, the rival claims of the three com- 

1 See above Ja 37 J 

2 WD Cir 59, 9 Mar 42, par 5c (1). 



mands — and eventually of the theaters as 
well — on a precious and limited commod- 
ity wanted by all — men. Provided the 
War Department General Staff was strong 
enough to enforce impartiality in the op- 
eration of an agency like The Adjutant 
General's office, this arrangement was not 
likely to produce insuperable difficulties. 
But McNair believed the General Staff 
lacked the necessary strength, and he 
thought that The Adjutant General func- 
tioned too often not as an impartial instru- 
ment of the War Department policy, but 
as an interested element of the ASF, This 
belief undoubtedly underlay General Mc- 
Nair's refusal to support Somervell's plan 
to combine the functions of ASF com- 
mander and Assistant Chiefs of Staff, G-l 
and G-4 and it continually conditioned 
the approach of AGF to the problem of 
personnel. 3 

Disagreements between the AGF and 
ASF concerning the recruitment and as- 
signment of personnel, although they did 
not attain major proportions, began early 
in the mobilization period and continued 
throughout the war. From the beginning 
of selective service, AGF was convinced 
that it was not receiving a proportionate 
share of high-quality men. Men of the 
highest intelligence, whose capacities for 
leadership and combat effectiveness AGF 
believed would be high, tended to be men 
having some identifiable civilian trade or 
profession. These fell within the occupa- 
tional specialties for which AGF units, by 
their nature, provided few openings, but 
which abounded in the more technical 
units of the ASF and AAF. 4 

General McNair criticized the ASF 
again and again for the Army's classifica- 
tion and assignment policy, especially 
during 1942 and 1943. He complained 
that large numbers of men originally as- 

signed to the Ground Forces were permit- 
ted to go to officer candidate and special- 
ist schools of the technical services, from 
which they often did not return to AGF. 5 
The Army Specialized Training Program 
was a major point of controversy. This 
program, managed by the ASF, contem- 
plated sending some 150,000 enlisted men 
to college for special training in science, 
engineering, and languages. The AGF op- 
posed the project vigorously, largely on 
the grounds that the training to be given 
was unnecessary to the prosecution of the 
war and that it would withdraw from po- 
sitions of leadership in the combat forces 
a large number of the best inductees. 
Eventually the replacement crisis in early 
1944 forced the dissolution of the program 
and the assignment of Army Specialized 
Training Program trainees to replacement 
centers and units, chiefly of the ground 
arms. 6 

The continuing struggle for high-qual- 
ity personnel culminated in 1943 and 
1944 in the discussion of the Physical Pro- 
file System, in which the AGF and ASF 
were again ranged on opposite sides. The 
AGF, convinced after two years of mobili- 
zation experience that assignment of in- 
ductees by specialty— especially when 
classification and assignment procedures 
were under the control of the ASF — could 
lead only to the receipt by the ASF and 
AAF of a disproportionate share of high- 
quality men, undertook to obtain a radical 
change in the basis for Army classification. 
It wished to substitute a physical basis for 
the current mental and technical criteria 
for classification. Under such a scheme, 

3 See above jp. 142| 

4 Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, The Organization, 
of Ground Combat Troops. 

5 Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, The Procurement and 
Training of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 4r-13. 

6 Ibid., pp. 28-39. 



the Ground Forces would have no diffi- 
culty demonstrating its superior need for 
men in prime physical condition, and so 
would get a larger proportion of well- 
qualified individuals. The ASF repeatedly 
objected to the institution of a physical 
basis for classification. But the demand 
for combat replacements became so acute 
in late 1943 and 1944 that the Physical 
Profile Plan was adopted over the objec- 
tions of the ASF in the spring of 1944. 7 

Closely related to these controversies 
over the quality of personnel were certain 
problems of utilization of personnel which 
disturbed the relations of ASF and AGF, 
especially in 1942 and 1943. Throughout 
the mobilization period it was the view of 
the AGF that too large a proportion of the 
national manpower was being invested in 
service functions and too little in combat 
forces. The rate of growth of service ele- 
ments was dramatic: constituting but 26.3 
percent of the strength of the Army at the 
end of 1941, they comprised 36.5 percent 
at the end of 1943. In the same period, 
the strength of the combat arms declined 
from 52.4 percent to 32.8 percent of the 
total. 8 The rapid expansion of the ASF 
was in large measure a result of the effort 
to build up supply installations, both in 
the zone of interior and in overseas thea- 
ters. The AGF, while conceding the neces- 
sity for some reapportionment of Army 
strength for this and other purposes, none- 
theless believed the situation was getting 
out of hand and repeatedly urged the 
need for the strongest possible combat 
force. 9 The Army Service Forces, McNair 
told General Gasser, president of the War 
Department manpower board, was "very, 
very fat, particularly in headquarters," 
and he strongly affirmed his belief that 
"radical corrective action" was required 
"to effect the assignment of a much 

greater proportion of the manpower to 
units designed for offensive combat." 10 

The AGF felt that the ASF was wasting 
manpower and thereby threatening not 
only the formation of a powerful combat 
force, but also interfering with AGF's pri- 
mary mission of training. The relative 
decline in AGF strength and the rise in 
ASF strength resulted only in part from 
the assignment of new inductees to ASF in 
large numbers. It resulted also from the 
cancellation of planned AGF units from 
the Troop Basis, and, far more serious in 
their effects on orderly training, from the 
depletion of ground units already 
formed — as well as the diversion of men 
from ground units in the process of for- 
mation — to fill new service units. These 
policies had disastrous effects on the train- 
ing of ground units. Training either was 
interrupted, had to be repeated, or had to 
be carried on at two or three levels simul- 
taneously. Until 1944 the most important 
influences on organization and training in 
AGF were shortages of men and changes 
in Troop Basis plans. AGF believed that 
unessential and overstaffed ASF units 
were in large measure responsible for both 
of these circumstances. 11 

Training problems presented other diffi- 
culties for the AGF and ASF. Initially the 
responsibility for training service units was 
not clearly defined. The AGF and ASF 
were each responsible for training service 
units — the AGF trained those service units 
which became an integral part of a com- 
bat command and the ASF trained units 

7 Ibid., pp. 64-69: See above, |p. 99[ 

8 Ibid., p. 203. 

9 Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, The Organization 
of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 198-230. 

10 AGF Memo slip, CG to Plans, 23 Feb 43. 

11 Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, The Procurement and 
Training of Ground Combat Troops, pp. 457-58, 466-69, 



to be used by the communications zone of 
an overseas theater. But the ultimate use 
of a service unit was not always clearly 
forecast. During 1942 and 1943 several 
schemes for compromising the conflict be- 
tween ASF and AGF were tried without 
success. Finally, in January 1944 the War 
Department adopted the policy of specifi- 
cally designating in the Troop Basis those 
service units which were to be activated 
and trained by each command. 12 

The controversy over responsibility for 
training service units was intensified by 
two circumstances, both arising out of the 
differing conceptions in AGF and ASF of 
their primary missions. During 1942 and 
most of 1943 the emphasis in AGF was on 
the organization and training of large 
combat elements, particularly divisions. 
While AGF recognized its responsibility 
for training service units organic to ground 
combat forces, it was very slow to provide 
plans for the organization and training of 
such units. Not until May 1943 did it pre- 
pare a systematic activation schedule for 
building service units and arrange for ef- 
fective supervision of their training. In 
part this neglect of AGF service units 
resulted from the graver problems sur- 
rounding the training of divisions. In part 
it resulted from the continued existence of 
the chiefs of technical services, which had 
first directed the training programs. But 
the effect was to make these service units 
the "forgotten men" of the AGF, and un- 
doubtedly to bolster the conviction in the 
ASF that it should seek control over the 
training of as many service units as pos- 

In their conception of the best type of 
training to be given service units, more- 
over, the two commands differed radically. 
In accordance with its mission of prepar- 
ing ground combat forces, the AGF in- 

sisted that each man, whether an ordnance 
repairman or a rifleman, be trained pri- 
marily as a soldier and secondarily as a 
specialist. In the ASF, on the other hand, 
primary emphasis was given to technical 
and specialist training. It was believed, 
both in the ASF and among the technical 
service staff officers of the AGF, that the 
training of service units of the Ground 
Forces had suffered because of an over- 
emphasis on military training. The AGF, 
taking an opposite view, was convinced 
that the ASF would concentrate too heav- 
ily on technical duties, if it obtained wider 
authority over the training of service units. 
This conviction doubtless stimulated it to 
insist on its responsibility for training all 
service personnel who would function in 
direct support of ground combat ele- 
ments. 13 

Training did not stop when a unit or an 
individual replacement was ordered to a 
staging area or replacement depot for 
shipment overseas. Troops were given 
physical examinations, final training tests, 
and often a certain amount of training in 
these installations. When units or individ- 
uals trained by the AGF passed through 
staging areas and replacement depots, 
they came under the command of port 
commanders. In 1943, as a result of criti- 
cisms of the state of training of combat 
troops arriving in the theaters, the AGF 
sought to extend its control over ground 
units and replacements up to the moment 
of embarkation. Units, many of which ar- 
rived at staging areas inadequately trained 
to begin with, often remained for extended 
periods, during which their training de- 
teriorated further. While under the con- 
trol of ASF staging area commanders, 

12 Ibid., pp. 505-06. 

13 Ibid., pp. 558-60. 



these units could be given suitable train- 
ing by the AGF only with difficulty. 

Training facilities in the staging areas 
were practically nonexistent because no 
training activity during the process of 
moving troops overseas had been contem- 
plated when training facilities were being 
constructed elsewhere. It was expected at 
the time that only fully prepared troops 
would be ordered overseas. Since this was 
not so, the AGF sought to continue train- 
ing until the last moment. That meant 
moving troops from staging areas to posts 
where facilities existed, disrupting final 
processing for overseas shipment, and 
causing no end of confusion in the staging 
areas. The AGF, more concerned with its 
responsibilities for training than those of 
port commanders for efficient final proc- 
essing, attempted to obtain War Depart- 
ment permission to retain command of 
ground units in staging areas and to con- 
duct such training and administrative 
preparations for overseas movement as 
seemed necessary. The ASF strongly op- 
posed this move as impractical and in- 
consistent with the principle of command. 
The War Department directed a number 
of measures to permit the AGF to super- 
vise training in staging areas without 
depriving port commanders of command 
of units while in the staging areas. None 
of the measures were completely success- 
ful. The improvement in the shipping 
situation in late 1943 and 1944 eased the 
problem somewhat by making extended 
delays in staging areas unnecessary, but 
a solution satisfactory to all concerned 
was never found. 14 

In like manner in 1943, when the re- 
placement crisis began, the processing of 
combat replacements through replace- 
ment depots controlled by the ASF re- 
vealed grave deficiencies in accounting, 

administration, and training. Although in 

1942 the AGF had been unwilling to seek 
authority over personnel depots for ground 
arms replacements, in 1943 it changed its 
position. Separate personnel depots were 
set up for AGF and ASF replacements, 
under the separate control of the two 
commands. 15 

In addition to problems pertaining to 
personnel and training, problems involv- 
ing the supply of equipment arose between 
the AGF and the ASF. During 1942 and 

1943 combat equipment for AGF units 
was severely limited, creating great train- 
ing difficulties. The AGF repeatedly at- 
tempted to obtain equipment allowances 
from the ASF and the War Department, 
but world-wide requirements were so enor- 
mous, that the ASF seldom found it possi- 
ble to meet these demands. Other 
differences between the two commands 
aggravated the supply situation. Faced 
with the need to move combat forces over- 
seas on limited shipping, the ASF in 1943 
adopted the policy of preshipping equip- 
ment. The AGF was concerned lest this 
stock-piling produce even graver short- 
ages of equipment for training in the 
United States. But although temporary 
shortages did develop, the net result in the 
long-run was beneficial in conserving ship- 
ping space and in permitting the re-use of 
equipment left behind in the zone of 
interior. 16 

Difficulties with the AGF also arose over 
the development and procurement of 
equipment for combat troops and units. 
Under the March 1942 reorganization di- 

14 Ibid., pp. 573-77, 585. See also Chester Ward- 
low, The Transportation Corps: Movements, Train- 
ing, and Supply, a volume in preparation for the 

15 Ibid., 179, 185-87. 

16 Ibid., pp. 456-57, 464-66, 555-58. 



rective, a Requirements Division was set 
up in AGF to establish military character- 
istics of weapons and equipment. This 
division was responsible for co-ordinating 
the design and procurement of matdriel 
with the technical services under ASF 
command. Through its Development Sec- 
tion, the Requirements Division attempted 
to satisfy and balance the demands of the 
combat arms for materiel. The technical 
services, for their part, had to translate 
requirement into designs and into plans 
for industrial production, often in the face 
of shortages of raw material, labor, and 
plant facilities. The elaborate machinery 
for developing, testing, and purchasing 
equipment revealed numerous small 
points of friction, but all were adjusted in 
one way or another. 

Somervell Raises a Basic Issue 

In comparison with the dispute between 
the ASF and the Air Forces, these con- 
flicts of the ASF with the Army Ground 
Forces were unimportant. The fact that 
the AGF and the ASF were in agreement 
on the economy and viability of the 1942 
reorganization enabled them to avoid 
serious rifts in their relationships. Actual 
co-operation between the two organiza- 
tions was close, continuous, and on the 
whole, effective throughout the war. The 
Ground and Service Forces worked to- 
gether with good results at camps, posts 
and stations. The conflicts treated above 
did not raise basic questions of military 
organization or of the responsibilities and 
authorities of the two commands. The 
problems were operational, involving spe- 
cific issues, and for the most part were 
handled successfully, unembarrassed by 
debates over higher staff and command 

On the other hand, disputes over seem- 
ingly technical matters between the Air 
Forces and the Service Forces had a way 
of becoming vital issues which threatened 
to undermine the organizational integrity 
of the ASF. 17 Every Air Forces gain pro- 
vided a fulcrum for more and more lever- 
age in a jurisdictional offensive. Thus 
General Somervell became convinced that 
the change in the method of allotting War 
Department funds was a dangerous step 
toward stripping the ASF of some of the 
authority necessary for carrying out its 
basic supply and service responsibilities. 

With this issue as a starting point, Som- 
ervell decided to bring up again the whole 
question of ASF-AAF relationships. In a 
memorandum for the Chief of Staff in 
September 1944 he called attention to the 
broad implications of the action taken in 
changing the method of allotting money. 
He listed six functions which had now 
been transferred from Service Forces su- 
pervision at air bases to Air Forces super- 
vision and ten functions which still 
remained. He concluded that "in short, 
the action removes, for all practical pur- 
poses, the control of the Commanding 
General, Army Service Forces, and the 
chiefs of technical services over the major 
activities for which they are responsible 
insofar as the Air Forces is concerned." 
This development went a long way toward 
dividing the Army into two parts — the 
Air Forces and the Ground Forces — with 
chiefs of technical services limited to 
Ground Forces functions except as the 
AAF might request their assistance. Som- 
ervell then turned to the basic issue. The 
relation of the ASF to the Ground Forces 
was clear, he declared, but the relation to 
the Air Forces had been uncertain ever 

17 Seeabove, |Ch. VIIl| 



since the reorganization of March 1942, 
and was now made more complex by this 
recent action. 18 

Since the War Department reorganiza- 
tion, Somervell asserted, the ASF had 
tried to carry out "the letter and spirit of 
the orders by rendering all possible service 
to the Army Air Forces and the Army 
Ground Forces." In general, there had 
been no difficulty with the AGF, and, 
Somervell noted, the AGF apparently did 
not feel any lack of adequate control over 
the services rendered its troops. The AGF 
had never asked that the military posts it 
used be transferred to its command. "On 
the other hand there has been a continu- 
ous trend and agitation towards transfer- 
ring to the Army Air Forces the supply 
and service functions being performed by 
the Army Service Forces at Air Forces sta- 
tions." Somervell then explained that the 
ASF had resisted these proposed changes 
in the belief "that they were not in accord- 
ance with the concept of the reorganiza- 
tion plan; that they would lead to a 
duplication of effort, to adoption of non- 
uniform standards and procedures, and to 
an uneconomical utilization of manpower, 
supplies, and facilities." He added that the 
ASF had usually been supported in its 
opposition by the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff. 

Next in his memorandum Somervell 
was careful to insist that he had no wish to 
prejudice postwar military organization. 
The form this organization would take 
was still unknown and the organization 
for another war could not be predicted. 
"The extent to which air and other devel- 
opments may bring about an almost com- 
plete change in the method of utilization 
of air and other arms may be far more 
spectacular than the mingling of all arms 
in this war." But in any event, service 

functions would always be necessary. 
What was needed was "a clean-cut divi- 
sion of responsibility but nevertheless one 
which will not unduly prejudice freedom 
of action in the future." 

Somervell discussed several ways of 
meeting the existing situation and pointed 
out advantages and disadvantages of each 
possible course of action. A return to the 
pre-March 1 942 organization, he felt, was 
impractical. One solution was to place the 
AAF in the same relation to the Service 
Forces as the Ground Forces. This meant 
that supply and service activities at air 
bases would be performed by station com- 
plements under the command of the ASF. 
If all airfields were thus made comparable 
to installations used by the AGF, the Air 
Forces could devote its time entirely to its 
tactical mission and a single standard of 
supply and service activity would obtain 
in the zone of interior. On the other hand, 
this action would place certain restrictions 
on the freedom of the Air Forces, although 
the Ground Forces had not found such 
restrictions a vital disadvantage. 

Another alternative was to make the 
Air Forces completely self-contained with 
its own separate service force consisting of 
medical, engineer, ordnance, and other 
components responsible only to the chief 
of the Air Forces. Such an arrangement 
would provide the advantage of complete 
independence for the AAF which would 
thereafter be only vaguely tied into the 
War Department at the top echelon. The 
disadvantage would be the creation of two 
separate organizations within the War De- 
partment with resulting waste of person- 
nel, equipment, and facilities. It would 
also mean the end of the conception of the 

18 Memo, Somervell for CofS, 27 Sep 44, sub: Re- 
cent Changes in Responsibilities of the ASF, Hq ASF, 
U.S. Army, 1944. 



ASF as a common supply and service 
agency for the War Department as a 
whole and would place a larger co-ordi- 
nating burden upon the Chief of Staff. 

A fourth possibility was to return to the 
original conception of the reorganization 
as defined by Army Regulations 170-10, 
10 August 1942, which made the post 
commander at Air Forces installations 
responsible to the commanding general of 
the service command for specified service 
and supply activities. This would avoid 
duplication of organization and super- 
visory personnel in the War Department 
but would mean that the Air Forces post 
commander would have two channels of 
command and would probably lead to the 
same objections which the Air Forces had 
raised ever since 1942. Finally, if the ASF 
were abolished, the chiefs of technical 
services could supervise their activities 
throughout the Air Forces, but the Chief 
of Staff would again find himself with the 
large overhead organization which he had 
found so burdensome before. 

General Somervell pointed out other 
possibilities, but thought they had too 
many drawbacks. The most clean-cut de- 
cision, he believed, would be either to 
place the Air Forces in the same relation 
to the Service Forces as the Ground Forces 
or to establish a completely self-contained 
air force. The next best solution was to 
revert to the original arrangement decided 
upon in 1942. He asked General Marshall 
to settle the issue. 

Somervell brought up this problem at a 
time when the War Department was 
studying the idea of a single department 
of national defense and when the General 
Staff wanted to avoid jurisdictional flare- 
ups. 19 On 26 October 1944 General Mar- 
shall took up this perplexing problem by 
means of a memorandum to the com- 

manding generals of the AAF, the AGF, 
and the ASF. The Chief of Staff doubted 
"the advisability of initiating any substan- 
tial organizational changes at the present 
time." The entire question of War Depart- 
ment and Army organization would have 
to be considered at the end of the war when 
the comments of overseas commanders 
would carry great weight. If the War De- 
partment was to obtain acceptance of the 
idea of a single department of national 
defense it would first have to demonstrate 
within the Army a satisfactory relation of 
service agencies to the combat forces. The 
Chief of Staff then asked the commanding 
generals of the three commands to resolve 
among themselves "the over-all question of 
service and supply functions and responsi- 
bilities and their relation to command." He 
hoped that they would be able to settle 
minor differences which might arise from 
time to time without appealing to him for 
a decision. Where differences could not be 
resolved, they should be presented to him 
as issues for decision. He then requested a 
statement giving the combined views of 
the three generals on how common supply 
and service activities should operate. 20 

The Effort To Resolve the Issue 

General Arnold of the AAF, Lt. Gen. 
Ben Lear, commanding the AGF at the 
time, and General Somervell, held a series 
of meetings in an effort to reach an agree- 
ment about the role of the Service Forces. 
Toward the end of November 1944 they 

16 See Memo, Gen W. A. Wood, Jr., for Somervell, 
29 Apr 44, sub: Reorg of National Defense (JCS 
749/4), Hq ASF, CofS (Joint and Combined) 1942- 

20 Memo, CofS for CG AAF, CG AGF, and CG ASF, 
26 Oct 44, sub: ASF Responsibilities, WDCSA 321 
ASF (26 Oct 44). 



sent General Marshall a report. 21 The 
three generals recognized that unity of 
purpose within the Army and a satisfac- 
tory relation of service to combat forces 
were indispensable prerequisites to obtain- 
ing a single department of national de- 
fense. Nevertheless they found it impossi- 
ble to reconcile their differences. 

General Arnold held that the basic 
mission of his command was to dominate 
the air and that to accomplish this over- 
riding purpose, "administrative, supply, 
and service functions related to mainte- 
nance of air superiority" had to be inte- 
grated under his control. The intercession 
of a service command in these fields cre- 
ated "fatal divided responsibility." 

General Lear of the Ground Forces and 
Somervell, on the other hand, looked at 
the War Department mission from an 
Army-wide point of view rather than that 
of a single command. A supply and serv- 
ice organization should "promote the 
maximum combat effectiveness ... of 
the Army as a whole, as distinguished 
from that of an individual component," 
such as the Air Forces. A single agency to 
provide supplies and render common serv- 
ices was in the interest of economy. The 
relations between the Ground and Service 
Forces and between the Air and Service 
Forces should be uniform. Combat forces 
ought to devote themselves to training and 
combat and perform only those functions 
which are organic to their combat mission. 
All other service and supply responsibil- 
ities should be left to a common service 

The opposing views on details were pre- 
sented to the Chief of Staff in parallel 
columns, one column stating the views of 
Ground and Service Forces, the other of 
the Air Forces. 22 The case for the Air 
Forces seemed to lie in the oft repeated 

phrase "peculiar to the AAF." Air war- 
fare, according to this approach, had its 
own special supply and service problems 
which were different from those of other 
combat forces, and should therefore be 
administered by the Air Forces. The ASF, 
while recognizing certain exceptions, be- 
lieved that by and large the supply, ad- 
ministrative, and other service functions of 
the Air Forces did not possess inherent 
characteristics which distinguished them 
from the same functions of the Ground 

The Air Forces protested in particular 
against a combination of command and 
staff functions in an independent service 
agency. This was an important point of 
the conflict and was expressed in Item 8 
of the detailed list of differences: 

AGF and ASF are of the opinion that . . . 

8. ASF should act as the staff agency of the 
Chief of Staff and the Under Secretary of 
War for supply and service activities through- 
out the entire Army; i. e., there should be 
only one Surgeon General who should act as 
The Surgeon General of the Army. 

AAF is of the opinion that . . . 

8. The AAF believes that all of the activities 
of the ASF should be subject to general poli- 
cies laid down by the General Staff as now 
constituted, that the requirements of the 
combat forces should be determined and ad- 
judicated by a General Staff in no respect 
subject to one of the major commands, and 
further that many staff functions now per- 
formed for the Army by ASF should be re- 
stored to General Stafflevel, ASF to retain 
necessary operating functions subject to Gen- 
eral Staff direction. The AAF disagrees with 

21 Memo, Arnold, Lear and Somervell to CofS, 27 
Nov 44, sub: Relation of Sup and Sv Agencies to 
Combat Forces, Hq ASF, CofS, 1944. 

22 Tab A to Memo, cited inn. 21. 



the view that a service agency under inde- 
pendent command should act as a staff 
agency for the Chief of Staff and the Under 
Secretary of War for administrative, supply 
or service activities. 

General Arnold further maintained 
that, if the position of the Ground Forces 
and Service Forces was adopted, vital 
functions would be placed under the 
authority of a service agency independent 
of a combat force. A service agency by 
definition was only a means of assistance 
to a combat force. If a combat force did 
not include "certain essential functions" 
under its own control, its effectiveness 
would be crippled. Under the conception 
advanced by the ASF, the AGF and the 
AAF would exist as "tenants of the service 
agency" without any control of their sta- 
tions and facilities. This concept ignored 
"the obvious fact" that the direction of a 
great combat force like the AAF was nec- 
essarily the management of a huge busi- 
ness which could not be farmed out to "an 
independent contractor." In the words of 
General Arnold: "Administrative control 
is an essential of command control." He 
then outlined the many different functions 
of the Air Forces and declared that these 
were interrelated and indispensable to the 
tactical mission of the AAF. 23 

The position of the commanding gen- 
eral of the Army Air Forces was obviously 
diametrically opposed to that of the com- 
manding generals of the Army Ground 
Forces and the Army Service Forces. Gen- 
eral Arnold saw the management of a 
combat force in terms of a widespread 
control over all of the activities contribut- 
ing to operational effectiveness. The other 
two commanding generals saw the com- 
mand of a combat force in terms of 
maximum possible dependency upon a 
separate service force operating behind the 

front lines overseas and extensively 
throughout the United States. There was 
little hope of reconciling these different 
conceptions of command responsibility 
within the Army. 

General T. T. Handy, Deputy Chief of 
Staff of the War Department, tried to find 
a solution to this seemingly unsolvable 
conflict. Accompanied by Maj. Gen. C. F 
Robinson, director of the Control Division 
in Somervell's office, he visited both a 
large post operated by the ASF where 
troops of the Army Ground Forces were in 
training, and a large training base of the 
AAF. Upon their return, Robinson wrote 
to Handy stating the conclusions which 
their inspection trip seemed to justify. As 
far as internal post and base operations 
were concerned, the system in use for sup- 
ply and services at both seemed to be func- 
tioning satisfactorily. The AAF base had 
received satisfactory assistance from ASF 
agencies. Regardless of War Department 
organization, in practice the air base was 
relying for many services upon service 
commands. The AGF-ASF relationship 
could be applied, with minor modifica- 
tions, to an air base without much diffi- 

General Robinson argued that the 
major difficulty in existing organization 
for supply and service activities did not 
"lie at the post level but in higher eche- 
lons." The AGF-ASF system provided for 
supervision of these activities through a 
single geographical organization, which 
he believed was the more effective and 
efficient method. Under the AAF system, 
supervision of service activities was di- 
vided among a number of different tac- 
tical commands, resulting in "unnecessary 
duplication" and uneconomical "use of 

23 Tab B to Memo, cited in n. 21. 



personnel." Finally, under a dual system 
of supervision as at present, the chiefs of 
technical services could not adequately 
supervise the supply and service activities 
for which they had technical responsibil- 
ity. 24 

The War Department Decision 

On 28 December 1944 General Handy 
transmitted a memorandum to all three 
commanding generals outlining the prin- 
ciples which were to govern relationships 
between their commands. 25 First, the War 
Department General Staff was the "over- 
all policy and co-ordinating staff for the 
War Department and the Army," while 
the three commands were primarily "op- 
erating agencies." Second, military per- 
sonnel of the three major commands 
should receive "equal consideration and 
enjoy equivalent facilities." Third, com- 
manders should concentrate upon their 
"primary responsibilities" and delegate 
"to a common supply service such duties 
as are not essential to their exercise of the 
command prerogative." The common 
supply service was to emphasize service, 
not command. Fourth, a supply service 
organization was essential for procure- 
ment and "wholesale" distribution of 
common articles of Army supply and for 
common administrative service. The fifth 
principle recognized a twilight zone in 
which the wishes of the commander would 
govern. For example, there was no ques- 
tion but that procurement of common ar- 
ticles of clothing was a responsibility of the 
Army Service Forces; there was no ques- 
tion but that the procurement of aircraft 
was a function of the Army Air Forces. 
But the procurement and distribution of 
high altitude flying clothing was in the in- 
determinate area and therefore the wishes 

of the Army Air Forces would govern. 

The essence of the position of the Dep- 
uty Chief of Staff was summarized in his 
final point that "no major change in 
present procedures and organization is 
contemplated." The AAF retained com- 
mand control over all but a relatively few 
responsibilities performed at its air bases. 
The ASF, through its service commands, 
still exercised supervision of Army ex- 
changes, disbursement offices, and hospi- 
tals at air bases. In effect the December 
1944 decision reaffirmed the status quo. 

But the difficulties between the AAF 
and the ASF continued even after they 
had been supposedly settled by a War De- 
partment circular. 26 When a change was 
ordered there were controversies over in- 
terpretation and procedure. Agreements 
between the two commands became in- 
creasingly difficult to achieve. 

The Relations of the ASF and the AAF 
to the Technical Services 

The attack of the Air Forces on the so- 
called Somervell empire not only had the 
effect of removing some supply, service, 
and administrative functions from the 
jurisdiction of the ASF, but even more 
damaging, it threatened to undermine the 
internal structure of the ASF. The reor- 
ganization of 1942 brought many tech- 
nical and administrative services, previ- 
ously almost autonomous units of the War 
Department, under the command author- 
ity of General Somervell. These technical 
and administrative services at best tended 
to be somewhat restive under ASF juris- 

24 Memo, C. F. Robinson for Handy, 16 Dec 44, 

25 Memo, Handy for CG ASF, 28 Dec 44, sub: Sup 
and Sv Responsibilities, Hq ASF. 

28 WD Cir 388, 27 Sep 44. 



diction. The AAF attack had the effect of 
encouraging internal dissatisfaction. The 
ASF suffered damage not only in that 
some of its functions \yere assigned else- 
where, but also in that the chiefs of the 
technical services gained a greater inde- 
pendence from ASF headquarters. 

For example, in the dispute between 
The Surgeon General of the Army and the 
Air Surgeon, the final compromise pro- 
vided that The Surgeon General would 
forward "through" the ASF his communi- 
cations to the Chief of Staff. This meant 
that while the Commanding General, 
ASF, might comment, he could no longer 
exercise command authority over all the 
activities of The Surgeon General. 27 

The same type of situation evolved from 
the controversy with the Air Forces over 
the maintenance of real property and the 
operation of utilities. ASF internal organ- 
ization provided that division engineers, 
the head of geographic areas within the 
United States under the Chief of Engi- 
neers, should also serve as a service com- 
mand engineer in supervising property re- 
pairs and utility operations. In practice, 
most division engineers appointed a dep- 
uty who was in effect the engineer in 
charge of repairs and utility operations of 
a service command. While repair and 
utility funds to Air Forces installations no 
longer went from service commands di- 
rectly to the air base, the Army Service 
Forces saw no reason to change its existing 
organization for supervising repair and 
utilities activities. Accordingly, service 
command engineers were directed to in- 
spect repair and utility work at Air Forces 
installations in the same manner as at 
other installations under service com- 
mands. After the change in methods of 
allotting funds went into effect, the Army 
Air Forces objected to this arrangement. 

It was opposed to inspection of its air bases 
by an individual designated "service com- 
mand engineer." It was willing to recog- 
nize the authority of the Chief of Engi- 
neers, but objected to service command 
engineers. On the other hand, the ASF 
maintained that its internal inspection 
organization was something it should de- 
termine for itself; its authority to inspect 
was specifically stated in War Department 
Circular 388; and it already had a large 
inspection staff which it proposed to use 
for inspection at Air Forces installations. 

The dispute went to the Assistant Chief 
of Staff, G-4, who stated that Circular 388 
distinguished between the command func- 
tion of the AAF and the service function 
exercised by the ASF at Air Forces instal- 
lations. The service function was defined 
to include technical assistance, review, 
inspection, and supply. G-4 declared: "It 
is not to the best interest of the War De- 
partment to require a change in the ASF 
regional organization at this time for serv- 
ice to Class III [Air Forces] installa- 
tions." 28 

This rebuff did not prevent the AAF 
from submitting a staff study arguing that 
War Department Circular 388 was in- 
tended to be only temporary in nature. 
The AAF therefore requested a transfer 
of authority from the ASF to the AAF to 
make all technical inspections at Class III 
installations. G-4 replied that it opposed 
the "elimination of technical inspections 
at Class III installations. ... It is the 
policy of the War Department that the 
chiefs of technical services, in addition to 
their other duties, will act as chief tech- 
nical advisers to the Chief of Staff and the 

27 See above, [p. 133| . 

28 G-4 Disposition form, addressed to CG ASF, 24 
Apr 45, sub: Relation of Sv Comdrs and Class III In- 
stallations, WDGDS 12275. 



War Department." 29 Thus the position of 
chiefs of technical services was reaffirmed, 
although nothing was said about the au- 
thority of the Commanding General, ASF, 
as the superior of these chiefs. 

The Deputy Chief of Staff reiterated 
this policy. He added that as technical ad- 
visers to the Chief of Staff, chiefs of tech- 
nical services or their designated repre- 
sentatives were authorized to make 
technical inspections at Class I, II, III, 
and IV installations, 30 to establish budget- 
ary standards for expenditure of funds. 
Communications on all matters pertain- 
ing to technical activities of the War De- 
partment would be forwarded to the Chief 
of Staff through the Commanding Gen- 
eral, ASF. The statement further provided 
that the commanding general might make 
such additional remarks and recommen- 
dations as he deemed appropriate, but im- 
plied that he could not refuse to forward 
recommendations of chiefs of technical 
services. 31 

The existing inspection system on re- 
pairs and utilities operations was not dis- 
turbed. The effort of the Army Air Forces 
to escape from supervision by chiefs of 
technical services or from service com- 
mands was thus forestalled. But at the 
same time the authority of the Command- 
ing General, ASF, was weakened by the 
provision that chiefs of technical services 
could prepare recommendations for the 
War Department General Staff on which 
the commanding general could only com- 
ment. Nothing was said about the author- 
ity of the Commanding General, ASF, to 
prescribe such organizational arrange- 
ments as he deemed desirable. Not only 
was the supervisory authority of the ASF 
undermined with respect to the Engineers; 
the WDGS took a similar position on the 
responsibilities of the Chief Signal Officer. 

In fact, on 23 July 1945 the War Depart- 
ment General Council provided that all 
the chiefs of technical services would act as 
"chief technical advisers to the Chief of 
Staff and the War Department." 32 

The War Department position was 
based on a distinction it drew between 
technical and service responsibilities of the 
chiefs of technical services. Under this in- 
terpretation the technical services would 
deal directly with the War Department 
General Staff on technical matters, while 
on other matters they would still be under 
General Somervell's jurisdiction. 

Somervell protested against these devel- 
opments vehemently and at length. The 
distinction between technical and service 
activities, he said, was meaningless in 
practical application. The changes threat- 
ened the stability of the ASF because they 
challenged its authority both over its 
Army-wide supply and service activities 
and over its own subordinate units. This 
tendency, General Somervell charged, 
"can only result in three independent self- 
sufficient commands — each with its own 
supply and service functions, each dupli- 
cating the overhead of the other." 33 

Somervell then drew up a statement 
which clarified the organizational position 
of the ASF. He sought his authority in the 
principles of the War Department reor- 
ganization of March 1942, which among 
other things had affirmed that "the mis- 
sion of the Services of Supply is to provide 
services and supplies to meet military re- 
quirements except those peculiar to the 

29 G-4 Disposition form, addressed to GG AAF, 17 
Jul 45, sub: Elimination of ASF Tech Inspections at 
Class III Install ations, WDG DS 15173. 

30 See below, fcp~314-15.| 

31 Min, WD Gen Council, 23 Jul 45. 

32 Ibid. 

33 Memo, Somervell to CofS, 6 Aug 45, sub: Posi- 
tion of the ASF in the WD, Hq ASF, CofS. 



AAF," and that "supply arms and services 
and War Department offices and agencies 
will come under the direct command of 
the Commanding General, SOS. . . ." 
Somervell spelled out specifically what in 
his mind seemed the proper way in which 
these principles ought to be applied to the 
problems that had since arisen. He recom- 
mended that this statement be sent to the 
three major commands, and that it be in- 
serted in the minutes of the War Depart- 
ment General Council. 34 

This memorandum and statement by 
General Somervell was to prove a final 
statement of his organizational thinking 
about the Army Service Forces. One week 
alter it was sent to the Chief of Staff, the 
Japanese Government announced its sur- 
render. World War II was over. Somer- 
vell's proposals were not considered. 

The basic problem of the role of the 
Army Service Forces in the War Depart- 
ment thus remained unsolved. At most, 
Somervell's effort to bring about a solu- 
tion served only as an opportunity for a 
restatement of the opposing points of view. 

The ASF insisted on its position as an 
Army-wide service agency. Throughout, it 
adhered to the view that it was not a co- 
ordinate command, but an administrative 
arm of the War Department. More than 
this, it considered itself a planning agency 
for the Chief of Staff in the logistics field as 
well as in various technical operations. 

In support of this broad conception of 
its role, the Army Service Forces could 
point, among other things, to the fact that 
it was often called upon to defend deci- 
sions on behalf of the War Department as 
a whole. For example, in early 1943 it 
bore the brunt of the defense for the Army 
decision, in the face of manpower strin- 
gencies, to raise a force of 8.2 million men. 

Again when the Army argued for national 
universal service, the ASF carried the bur- 
den of the case. National universal service 
was intended to provide manpower for 
industry and agriculture rather than man- 
power for the Army itself. Since the ASF 
was concerned with the procurement of 
military supplies, it was perfectly natural 
that it should be the best prepared of all 
War Department agencies to present the 
Army argument for such legislation. The 
ASF also performed the bulk of the work 
in preparing the War Department's advo- 
cacy of universal training and for similar 
matters which transcended the fields of 
individual organizations within the War 

The basic doctrine of the Army Ground 
Forces was defined at the time of the reor- 
ganization of the War Department in 
1942. Though occasionally objecting to 
Somervell's jurisdictional claims, the AGF 
was a consistent supporter of the need for 
an Army Service Forces as a common War 
Department supply and administrative 

The Army Air Forces did not share this 
view. Its hostility to the ASF position 
transcended specific issues, but stemmed 
rather from its basic desire for complete 
separation from the other major compo- 
nents of the Army. In view of this attitude, 
efforts toward a better understanding were 
well-nigh hopeless. At one time, Somervell 
and his immediate advisers thought rela- 
tions might improve if the AAF would 
place a high-ranking officer in ASF head- 
quarters to serve as liaison on post man- 
agement, which would be an arrangement 
similar to that in force on purchasing mat- 
ters. General Arnold agreed and on 19 
August 1943 named a liaison officer with 

34 Tab H to Memo, cited in n. 32. 



Headquarters, ASF. 35 Other AAF liaison 
officers were stationed in the headquarters 
of each service commander. But this ar- 
rangement brought no real improvement 
in relations between the ASF and the 

It was necessary for the ASF to reaffirm 
its role constantly in order to maintain its 
position in the War Department as origi- 
nally intended. The alternative was to de- 
vise some new type of organization. The 

wartime solution to problems were com- 
promises which outwardly preserved most 
of the original structure and functions of 
the ASF. But the opposition encountered 
by the ASF in the effort to meet its respon- 
sibilities reflected subsurface currents of 
thinking within the Army which, if 
allowed to develop to their logical conclu- 
sion, threatened to undermine the whole 
theory of an Army-wide service agency. 

35 ASF Cir 64, 19 Aug 43. 


Somervell's Relationship With 
Patterson and Marshall 

In the final analysis much of the war- 
time role of the Army Service Forces de- 
pended upon personalities, specifically 
upon the relations of its commanding gen- 
eral to the Under Secretary of War and to 
the Chief of Staff. The existence of a satis- 
factory personal relationship between 
these three men was a major factor in the 
ability of the ASF to perform its responsi- 
bilities and to survive as the War Depart- 
ment's command organization for supply 
and service activities. 

Somervell's position in the top organi- 
zation of the War Department was, for 
such a high-ranking official, unique. He 
had not one but two bosses: the Under 
Secretary and the Chief of Staff. It was a 
peculiar kind of arrangement in the light 
of Army doctrine pertaining to "unity of 
command," but one made necessary by 
War Department organizational experi- 
ence after 1920. On the whole, it turned 
out to be a workable arrangement, at least 
insofar as relations between the three 
individuals involved were concerned. 

General Marshall respected the Under 
Secretary's position; he was too good an 
Army officer imbued with the doctrine of 
the subordination of military to civilian 
authority to behave otherwise. He never 
encouraged Somervell to bring procure- 
ment problems to him. There is no indica- 

tion in the record of any instructions from 
Marshall to Somervell on purchasing or 
production matters. He expected Somer- 
vell to obtain necessary policy direction on 
these matters from the Under Secretary. 
In turn the Under Secretary seemed to 
have great respect for the military judg- 
ment of General Marshall, and accepted 
as proper the fact that on strategic matters 
Marshall dealt with Secretary Stimson 
and the President. Patterson had no ap- 
parent disposition to enlarge his authority 

Somervell for his part, conscientious in 
his observation of organizational arrange- 
ments, encountered no difficulty in work- 
ing for two masters. Nor did he yield to 
the temptation, inherent in all such situ- 
ations, of trying to play one superior 
against the other. He realized General 
Marshall was not interested in any excuse 
such as "the Under Secretary wants it 
this way." It was Somervell's duty to pre- 
sent the professional military judgment to 
the Under Secretary and then follow such 
civilian modification as might be ex- 

The Under Secretary 

Perhaps no top individual in the War 
Department had more reason to be con- 



cerned about the creation of the Army 
Service Forces than the Under Secretary 
of War. He lost a large supervisory organ- 
ization which had previously enabled him 
to fulfill the responsibility, delegated to 
him by the Secretary of War, of directing 
the Department's procurement and re- 
lated business activities. All the staff units 
which had been a part of the Office of the 
Under Secretary of War became, on 9 
March 1942, staff units of the command- 
ing general of the ASF. But while the 
Under Secretary lost an organization, he 
gained an executive officer of high rank 
and great drive. It was up to Somervell to 
demonstrate that in the reorganization the 
Under Secretary had gained in personal 
influence and that civilian control had not 
been weakened by the change. 

Mr. Goldthwaite H. Dorr suggested one 
arrangement to demonstrate the close re- 
lationship which was expected to exist in 
fact between the commanding general of 
the ASF and the Under Secretary of War. 
One factor creating a gulf between the 
Supply Division of the War Department 
General Staff and the OUSW after June 
1941 had been the physical separation of 
the two offices. The Under Secretary of 
War and his staff had moved into the so- 
called New War Department Building 
which had just been finished at 21st Street 
and Virginia Avenue, two blocks away 
from the old Munitions Building. This 
modern, air-conditioned, government of- 
fice building had been intended as the 
headquarters for the War Department to 
replace the old Munitions Building which 
had been constructed during World War 
I. By the time the new building was com- 
pleted, however, the War Department had 
expanded so greatly that it was adequate 
to house only the Office of the Under 
Secretary and the Office of the Chief of 

Engineers. All of the War Department 
General Staff remained in the Munitions 
Building. Recalling that the offices for As- 
sistant Secretary Benedict Crowell and 
General Goethals during World War I 
were adjacent, Mr. Dorr proposed that 
Patterson and Somervell should likewise 
have adjoining offices with no secretaries 
or assistants between them. 

After 9 March 1942, General Somervell 
insisted upon moving most of the units in 
the Office of the Under Secretary of War 
into the Munitions Building. The Under 
Secretary then gave up his new, modern 
office in order to return to the old build- 
ing. There he and the commanding gen- 
eral of the ASF occupied adjoining offices 
immediately above those of the Secretary 
of War and the Chief of Staff. By the end 
of 1942 it was possible to move both offices 
into the new Pentagon Building. Here, 
General Somervell had a specially de- 
signed section on the third floor over the 
Mall entrance to the building which gave 
the Under Secretary and the command- 
ing general of the ASF adjoining offices 
with a connecting door. The Secretary of 
War and the Chief of Staff had a similar 
arrangement on another side of the 

Undoubtedly the proximity of these of- 
fices had much to do with promoting 
close-working relationships between Mr. 
Patterson and General Somervell. Tem- 
permentally, the two men were very dif- 
ferent. Mr. Patterson was usually calm, 
cautious, and inclined to look at all sides 
of most issues. General Somervell was 
impatient, tense, ;;nd decisive. Both men 
probably went through a somewhat try- 
ing period of mutual adjustment. It was 
a tribute to the integrity and determina- 
tion of both men that they rose above 
personal differences and that they should 



have found a way to work together. In- 
deed, before the end of the war each 
had come to have real respect for the 
other. On the one hand, Mr. Patterson 
realized that Somervell's energy and 
willingness to make decisions were vital 
to the procurement and supply sup- 
port of military operations. On the other 
hand, General Somervell appreciated that 
civilian control of military operations was 
a vital part of the American political tra- 
dition and that many decisions had to be 
approved by a politically responsible 
official of the War Department. 

After 9 March 1942, the Under Secre- 
tary's immediate office was quite small. In 
March 1943, for example, the office con- 
sisted of Mr. Patterson, Lt. Gen. W. S. 
Knudsen as director of production, an 
executive officer, an administrative officer, 
an executive assistant, and seven special 
assistants. In addition, there were one 
or two personal assistants to some of 
these individuals and the usual secretarial 
and clerical personnel. A few more per- 
sonal assistants were appointed during the 
course of the war, but the OUSW re- 
mained a small group at all times. When 
any continuing administrative duty was to 
be started in which the Under Secretary 
was interested, General Somervell insisted 
that the unit should be located in the 
Army Service Forces although the director 
of the work then might have such personal 
relations with the Under Secretary as Mr. 
Patterson desired. 

When Congress in 1942 authorized the 
renegotiation of contracts, for instance, 
General Somervell established a Renegoti- 
ations Division as a staff unit under the 
director of materiel in headquarters of the 
ASF. At the same time, the director of the 
Renegotiations Division became the chair- 
man of the War Department Price Adjust- 

ment Board. Renegotiation of contract 
prices was an activity in which the Under 
Secretary took very much interest. At one 
time, indeed, without consulting General 
Somervell, he directed that the War De- 
partment Price Adjustment Board should 
be a part of his own office rather than at- 
tached to the ASF. After General Somer- 
vell protested, both men agreed that the 
Renegotiations Division should be located 
within the ASF but that the director of the 
division should be appointed only with the 
approval of the Under Secretary. They 
also agreed that when the board gave final 
official approval to a renegotiation agree- 
ment, it should act in the name of the 
Under Secretary. 

In 1944 General Somervell established 
a Correction Division in the Office of The 
Adjutant General to supervise rehabilita- 
tion centers and disciplinary barracks 
where military prisoners were held. The 
Under Secretary exercised the power of 
clemency, delegated to him by the Secre- 
tary of War, over military prisoners con- 
victed by courts martial. As a result of his 
review of such cases, the Under Secretary 
became more and more interested in the 
whole penology program of the Depart- 
ment. The actual penal institutions of the 
Army were under the ASF. When the 
number of prisoners confined in these 
institutions became sizable — the number 
of men in disciplinary barracks increased 
from 5,300 to 8,600 between July and 
December 1944 — the Under Secretary 
was more concerned than ever that the 
penal practices of the Department should 
be above reproach. 1 A solution was sought 
in the creation of the Correction Division 
in the ASF headquarters under the direc- 
tion of an officer in the Under Secretary's 

1 CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II, p. 151. 



office who had previously assisted the 
Under Secretary in clemency matters. In 
addition, the Under Secretary created a 
Board of Consultants composed of the 
country's leading penologists and prison 
administrators to advise him. The chair- 
man of the board, Mr. Austin MacCor- 
mick, became a personal assistant to the 
Under Secretary. This administrative ar- 
rangement proved entirely workable in 

From the very beginning of the Army 
Service Forces, General Somervell always 
invited the Under Secretary to attend 
ASF staff conferences. These conferences 
were held regularly twice a month. At- 
tending whenever he was in town, the 
Under Secretary sat at the right of the 
commanding general. In his absence, his 
executive officer usually was present. This 
gave the Under Secretary an opportunity 
to participate in the discussion and to ex- 
press his opinion regarding any matter 
which might arise. On both purchasing 
and production matters General Somer- 
vell always requested the Under Secre- 
tary's opinion. In addition, the Under 
Secretary or his executive officer usually 
attended the semiannual conferences of 
the commanders of the service commands 
which were begun in June 1942 as a 
means of maintaining close personal con- 
tact between the headquarters of the ASF 
and the headquarters of the nine service 
commands. Here again, the Under Secre- 
tary had an opportunity to learn exactly 
what was happening in the ASF, the prob- 
lems which were arising, and the policies 
and programs which were being followed. 
The regular monthly reports prepared 
within the ASF for the guidance of the 
commanding general and his staff divi- 
sions were also given to the Under Secre- 
tary for such use as he might wish to make 
of them. 

In one respect, the Under Secretary 
necessarily developed a peculiar relation- 
ship to the ASF. As mentioned earlier, the 
commanding general of the Army Air 
Forces exercised important procurement 
responsibilities. Like the commanding 
general of the ASF, he operated under the 
supervision of the Under Secretary of War. 
The ASF staff became the Under Secre- 
tary's staff when dealing with the AAF. 
This arrangement applied primarily to 
two and later three staff divisions of the 
ASF: the Purchases Division, the Renego- 
tiations Division, and, after November 
1943, the Readjustment Division (particu- 
larly concerned with contract termina- 
tions). Actually, the Under Secretary was 
probably more interested in the work of 
these three staff divisions of the ASF than 
in any other. In any event, General Som- 
ervell was only too glad to defer to Judge 
Patterson's judgment on all legal and price 
policy matters affecting procurement. 

The directors of these staff divisions saw 
the Under Secretary frequently. For ex- 
ample, they consulted him often with re- 
gard to contract termination policies, the 
development of which he followed very 
closely. While General Somervell was 
likewise deeply interested in these devel- 
opments, War Department points of view 
were determined by discussions held in 
the Under Secretary's office. The director 
of materiel of the ASF, first General Clay 
and later Mr. Howard Bruce, also saw the 
Under Secretary frequently, as did the 
legal adviser on procurement matters, Mr. 
William C. Marbury. General Somervell 
encouraged these individuals to consult 
freely with the Under Secretary, and 
the Under Secretary in turn called upon 
them directly whenever some matter arose 
in which he was interested. 

The wide range of the Under Secre- 
tary's interests and activities was well in- 



dicated in a report to the Secretary of War 
which was prepared in the Under Secre- 
tary's office in the autumn of 1944. This 
was the first such report prepared in the 
Under Secretary's office after the reorgan- 
ization of 1942. 

The Under Secretary was the official 
representative of the War Department on 
the War Production Board, the War Man- 
power Commission, and the Committee 
for Congested Production Areas. In addi- 
tion, the Under Secretary took an active 
role in labor relations, in public relations 
involving procurement matters (including 
the award of the Army-Navy "E" for out- 
standing industrial achievement in war 
production), and in industrial safety and 
protection. In September 1943, he spon- 
sored a meeting in Washington of two 
hundred industrialists and labor leaders 
to hear confidential information about the 
status of war production. A similar meet- 
ing was held at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in 
October 1943 and at Los Angeles in Jan- 
uary 1944. The basic work for this confer- 
ence was prepared jointly by personnel 
from the ASF and from the Industrial 
Services Division of the Bureau of Public 

The Under Secretary was also much 
interested in so-called economic warfare, 
and matters involving relations with the 
Foreign Economic Administration were 
usually taken up with him. For example, 
on 19 September 1944, General Somervell 
sent a memorandum to the Under Secre- 
tary on the disposal of surplus property 
overseas. Somervell was opposed to the 
performance of this work by the FEA on 
the grounds that that administration 
would be unlikely to push rapid liquida- 
tion of military property overseas, which 
would in turn require the continued pres- 
ence of thousands of troops overseas to 
guard and care for such property. The 

War Department, in General Somervell's 
eyes, should seek "prompt, clean-cut and 
definitive settlements" for the disposition of 
overseas property. 2 Earlier in the year, 
when the Army Industrial College was re- 
opened under the nominal supervision of 
the Under Secretary of War, one of its im- 
mediate purposes was to train officer and 
civilian personnel in contract termination 
and property disposal procedure. Thus the 
college became an important part of the 
War Department's preparations for pro- 
curement demobilization after V-E and 
V-J Days. Its instructors were drawn 
almost entirely from the Readjustment 
Division of the ASF. 

Under Secretary Patterson was a loyal, 
consistent supporter of the Army Service 
Forces throughout the war. His satisfac- 
tion with the organizational arrangement 
was evidenced by his failure to make any 
effort to reconstitute the OUSW along 
prewar lines in the reorganization of the 
War Department in 1946. If he had been 
even slightly dissatisfied, he would proba- 
bly have followed a different course. In 
turn, General Somervell found the Under 
Secretary's counsel and assistance con- 
stantly helpful and reassuring. The Under 
Secretary had learned that he could con- 
trol activities in which he was interested 
by working through the commanding gen- 
eral of the ASF. General Somervell, on the 
other hand, had learned that an Under 
Secretary of War sympathetic to Army 
needs and of unquestioned integrity was 
a real asset in guiding procurement 

The Chief of Staff 

Somervell's personal relations with 
General Marshall were direct but formal. 

2 Memo, Somervell for USW, 10 Sep 44, sub: Dis- 
posal of Surplus Property Overseas, CG ASF. 



Although he saw the Chief of Staff almost 
daily, it was invariably on matters of busi- 
ness. The Chief of Staff had a rigorous code 
of what he regarded as appropriate con- 
duct in officers. In turn, General Somer- 
vell never presumed on his relationship to 
the Chief of Staff. He always acted with 
the understanding that he was Marshall's 
subordinate whose responsibility was to 
carry out the Chief of Staff 's desires to the 
very fullest extent possible. 

Indeed, it was this latter attitude which 
explained Somervell's continuance in the 
position of commanding general of the 
Army Service Forces throughout the war. 
Had Somervell ever failed in either 
loyalty or performance of duty, he would 
probably have been relieved. No matter 
how much controversy might rage around 
General Somervell, the Chief of Staff gave 
no evidence of being displeased as long as 
he felt that essential work for the Army 
was being performed with maximum pos- 
sible vigor. At times there were efforts to 
stir the Chief of Staff to dissatisfaction with 
his commanding general of the ASF. 
These efforts failed. In this connection, 
there is a revealing comment about Gen- 
eral Marshall's attitude in an account 
written by his wife. Without indicating 
either the individual or issues involved, 
Mrs. Marshall records: 

A group of Congressmen were much per- 
turbed over rumors that were afloat in 
Washington concerning one of George's most 
trusted Staff officers who was carrying a tre- 
mendous load and doing it magnificently. In 
fact, he was handling his job with such au- 
thority and skill that the rumor- mongers 
said he had his eye on the job of the Chief of 
Staff. This rumor was fanned into a flame by 
those who had fallen afoul of him because of 
their failure to live up to his high standards 
of efficiency. The group of Congressmen 
came to warn George. He listened to what 
they had to say, then smiled and said, 

"Thank you, gentlemen. I have heard these 
rumors. You do not have to worry about me. 
If I can't control my own Staff, I would not 
be here." 3 

It seems most likely that this comment 
was occasioned by the controversy involv- 
ing General Somervell in the autumn of 
1943." But whether Somervell was the of- 
ficer whom the Chief of Staff had in mind 
upon this particular occasion is not impor- 
tant. The attitude expressed did charac- 
terize the relationship between the Chief 
of Staff of the War Department and the 
commanding general of the Army Service 

Somervell always looked upon the ASF 
as peculiarly the creation of the Chief of 
Staff. What it was and what it did was pri- 
marily the result of General Marshall's 
desire. It has already been noted that, had 
Somervell been the architect of the ASF, 
the command might well have been solely 
a procurement and supply command 
without the administrative service work 
which was included in it. He never ques- 
tioned the addition of the administrative 
services simply because it was the arrange- 
ment which General Marshall had put 
into effect. In explaining the Army Serv- 
ice Forces on one occasion, General Som- 
ervell revealed his attitude in these words. 
He said that the ASF "handles logistics 
and administration. Its purpose was to 
take these loads as far as possible off the 
mind of the Chief of Staff." 5 

Somervell made it a regular practice to 
keep the Chief of Staff fully informed 

3 From Together: Annals of an Army Wife, by 
Katherine Tupper Marshall, copyright 1946, 1947, 
by Katherine Tupper Marshall by permission of 
Tupper and L ove. Inc.. p ublishers, pp. 108-09. 

4 See below, ICh. XXlVl 

5 Brehon B. Somervell, "The United States Army 
Services of Supply," Proceedings of the Academy of 
Political Science, XX (January 1943), 67. 



about what he was doing. He constantly 
sent papers to Marshall intended to indi- 
cate what was being accomplished. Som- 
ervell asked the Chief of Staff to attend the 
ceremonies observing the first anniversary 
of the Army Service Forces on 9 March 
1943. General Marshall did so, and sub- 
sequently requested a copy of the talk 
Somervell made reviewing the accom- 
plishments of the ASF in its first year. He 
sent the talk to the editor of the Reader's 
Digest with the suggestion that the publi- 
cation might be interested in preparing an 
article on this subject. The result was the 
first of two or three articles about the ASF 
which appeared in that magazine during 
the war. 

On another occasion, General Somer- 
vell, taking note of the fact that both the 
Navy and the Air Forces had gone to con- 
siderable effort to provide popular reading 
matter about their operations, arranged, 
with the Chief of Staff's approval, for one 
of his officers to prepare a booklet which 
would deal with the Army as a whole. 
This was published in early 1945 as The 
Mightiest Army. e 

Communications which Somervell re- 
ceived from either subordinates or from 
overseas commands, summarizing prob- 
lems or accomplishments, were frequently 
sent to the Chief of Staff 's desk. Most of 
these the Chief of Staff personally re- 
viewed. For example, General Somervell 
received a letter from the director of the 
Military Railway Service in the China- 
Burma-India theater, shortly after the 
Transportation Corps took over the op- 
eration of the Bengal-Assam railway on 1 
March 1944. The director reported that in 
the first eighteen days of American opera- 
tion, the military tonnage hauled had in- 
creased 36.4 percent over the same period 
in the preceding month. The improve- 

ment had been realized without any 
increase in yard expansion or trackage. 
Somervell forwarded the letter to General 
Marshall with the hand-written comment: 
"You will note our organization has done 
a lot in a few days. Have urged the British 
to do this for over a year." The letter was 
returned with the notation: "Fine busi- 
ness— GCM." 

On his overseas inspection trips, Gen- 
eral Somervell invariably wrote fairly long 
accounts of his observations in personal 
letters to the Chief of Staff. Some of these 
comments have already been quoted. No 
replies were expected and none were re- 
ceived. Indeed there is almost no indica- 
tion in the files of the commanding general 
of the ASF that General Marshall ever 
communicated instructions to Somervell 
in writing. As a general rule, the Chief of 
Staff issued orders and communications 
orally. Written communications from his 
office came from the Deputy Chief of Staff 
or the assistant chiefs of staff. 7 

On the subject of organization and 
management, Somervell never succeeded 
in obtaining an expression of marked in- 
terest from the Chief of Staff. Deeply con- 
cerned with this matter himself, Somervell 
was proud of the achievements of the ASF 
in building an integrated organization 
with some degree of unity and common 
purpose out of the many diverse elements 
inherited on 9 March 1942. In addition, 

6 The book, written by Karl W. Detzer, formerly a 
roving editor of the Reader's Digest, was published 
without profit by the Readers' Digest Association and 
distributed at cost by the S-M News Company. All 
profits from the enterprise were contributed to the 
Army Emergency Relief Fund. More than 300,000 
copies were sold. 

7 There are a few minor exceptions, such as a note 
to General Somervell from the Chief of Staff, dated 
18 December 1944, expressing dissatisfaction with the 
ASF post commander at Camp McClellan. Files, CG 



the ASF placed constant emphasis upon 
improved methods of performance which 
would reduce the cost of operations. On 
one occasion, General Somervell did per- 
suade the Chief of Staff to come to his own 
office and look over the record of manage- 
ment improvements achieved by the ASF. 
General Marshall gave no indication that 
he was particularly impressed. 

Marshall usually referred Somervell's 
various protests about the changing status 
of the Army Service Forces to General 
McNarney, the deputy chief of staff. The 
most serious protest, that of 27 September 
1944, resulted in a memorandum from the 
Chief of Staff to the commanding generals 
of the three commands, already described. 
While General Marshall asked for a clear- 
cut statement of the differences, the whole 
problem was then turned over to the 
Deputy Chief of Staff. 8 

The Chief of Staff generally allowed his 
subordinate commanders the greatest lati- 
tude in working out their problems. He 
was not one to interfere with minor details 
or to attempt to follow every development. 
His practice was to provide general in- 
structions and then to expect intelligent, 
prompt action in fulfilling them. There 
seems little doubt but that the Chief of 
Staff wanted and appreciated the kind of 
subordinate commander General Somer- 
vell proved to be. The Chief of Staff 
wanted action, and vigorously. He was not 
tolerant of failures or of constant requests 
for additional instructions. 

Although General Somervell indicated 
on two or three occasions that he would be 
happy to have a different assignment, 
General Marshall showed no disposition 
to make a change. Once in an extempora- 
neous talk to some three hundred key 
officers of the Army Service Forces, in- 
cluding the chiefs of technical services, the 

Chief of Staff indicated that he had been 
dissatisfied with the supply organization of 
the War Department as it existed before 9 
March 1942, principally because respon- 
sibility had been too diffused. He empha- 
sized that he wanted only one man 
reporting to him on supply and transpor- 
tation matters. He had insisted upon such 
an arrangement, and he made it clear that 
he would not tolerate any different ar- 
rangement for the conduct of the war. He 
then went farther and voiced his approval 
of the manner in which the ASF had been 
functioning under the leadership of its 
commanding general. 9 

In his work for the Joint and Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, General Somervell was at 
all times the agent of the Chief of Staff. 
His role was one of defining the Chief of 
Staff's desires and putting them into exe- 
cution. As a subordinate of the Chief of 
Staff, General Somervell had almost no 
relations with the President. ASF matters 
of concern to the Chief Executive were 
handled through General Marshall. But 
on one or two occasions Somervell saw the 
President personally and, when he did so, 
it was upon instructions from the Chief of 
Staff. Because of his past association with 
him in the WPA, General Somervell oc- 
casionally had access to Harry Hopkins. 
During the heated controversy with the 
WPB, Somervell kept Mr. Hopkins in- 
formed of developments and the Army's 
point of view. 10 Since Mr. Hopkins was 
the chairman of the Munitions Assign- 

8 See above, [p. 165J 

9 These remarks were made in the Pentagon audi- 
torium on 9 March 1945, the occasion of the celebra- 
tion of the third anniversary of the creation of the 
ASF. No record was made of General Marshall's 
comments and the above account reflects the author's 
recollection of what wa s said. 

*° See below, [p~222] 



ments Board, Somervell also had consid- 
erable correspondence with him on the 
matter of supplies to the British and to the 
Russians. Somervell wanted Mr. Hopkins 
to know about all lend-lease matters 
involving the Army. Like General Mar- 
shall, Somervell enjoyed Mr. Hopkins 
constant support. 

General Somervell had little contact 
with the Secretary of War, but there were 
some occasions when the latter official 
turned to him for help. On the occasion 
when the President requested the Secre- 
tary of War and the Secretary of the Navy 
to compose their differences with Mr. Nel- 
son over the duties of the Production Vice- 
Chairman in the WPB, General Somervell 
was necessarily called upon to provide 
Secretary Stimson with full information 
about the origin of the difficulty and the 
argument which had led to the existing 
impasse. On another occasion when a 
strike threatened to halt all railroad oper- 
ations within the United States, the Secre- 
tary of War called upon General Somervell 
to prepare a plan for Army operation of 
the nation's railways. Army control was 
actually ordered on 27 December 1943 by 
the Secretary in accordance with the terms 
of an executive order of the President, and 
continued until 18 January 1944 when the 
railways were returned to their owners 
after settlement of the dispute between 
management and labor. The Secretary 
was deeply interested in this entire activ- 
ity. On Army operation of industrial 
establishments taken over in order to 
insure uninterrupted production, the Un- 
der Secretary was the top War Department 
official fixing policy and practice. 

The importance which General Mar- 

shall attached to Somervell's position was 
clearly indicated by his action in taking 
Somervell to all the international confer- 
ences. When the Casablanca Conference 
was held in January 1943, Somervell was 
one of the few officers accompanying the 
Chief of Staff. He attended all subsequent 
conferences and remained Marshall's lo- 
gistics planner and commander to the very 
end of the war. 

The Army Service Forces was set up to 
meet a War Department organization 
need which General Marshall saw as a 
vital factor in the conduct of the war. In 
order to overcome the fatal bifurcation 
which had developed between procure- 
ment and distribution activities in the top 
War Department organization, the Under 
Secretary consented to a single supply 
command. The ASF was both logistics 
staff and command for the Chief of Staff. 
On industrial relations matters, the Under 
Secretary initiated or approved basic 
policies. General Marshall seemed to be 
less concerned with the work of the ASF 
in the service field than he was with its 
work in the supply field. Eventually the 
War Department General or Special Staff 
came to be the policy-fixing echelon on 
service or administrative duties. 

The role of the ASF in the War Depart- 
ment in World War II was not determined 
simply by General Somervell's conception 
of it. In the last analysis it depended pri- 
marily upon what Judge Patterson as 
Under Secretary and General Marshall as 
Chief of Staff wanted. Theirs were the 
crucial attitudes in determining what the 
Army Service Forces was and how it was 
to operate. 




The ASF and the WPB: 
Early Attempts To Define 

The Army Service Forces during World 
War II never experienced budgetary 
stringencies. From 1 July 1940 through 31 
December 1941, Congress appropriated 
some twenty -five billion dollars to the War 
Department for the procurement of war 
supplies other than aircraft. About three 
billion dollars had also been allotted for 
lend-lease purchases. Between 1 January 
and 30 June 1942, Congress appropriated 
another 23.5 billion dollars for military 
procurement by agencies of the newly an- 
nounced Army Service Forces. Appropria- 
tions for the fiscal years 1943 and 1944 
added another fifty billion dollars. 1 

But funds to purchase supplies were 
very different from the delivery of com- 
pleted articles for Army use. In the whole 
calendar year 1941 the procurement 
agencies which later made up the Army 
Service Forces received actual deliveries of 
supplies amounting to 3.5 billion dollars. 
Of this amount, food stuffs were a major 
item. 2 From 1 July 1940 through Decem- 
ber 1941 the total production of American 
industry for Army and Navy use included 
merely 65 heavy guns, 4,705 light field and 
antitank guns, 6,787 tank guns and how- 
itzers, 9,518 mortars, 87,172 machine 

guns, 4,203 tanks (almost all light), 7,833 
scout cars, and 208,034 trucks. 3 This was 
a start, but only a start toward the output 
of the tremendous quantities of military 
materiel required to win World War II. 

Military procurement involved a whole 
complex of economic relationships — the 
necessary production plants, specialized 
machine tools and the "know-how" to 
make them effective, raw materials and 
component parts, adequate labor force, 
and on top of all these, a "civilian" (i. e., 
essential but not directly military) produc- 
tion adequate to support military output. 
Military procurement could not operate 
in a vacuum; it had to be part of a highly 
planned and highly organized total war 
production effort. As an agency of the War 
Department, therefore, the Army Service 
Forces was only one element of an intri- 
cate governmental machine for industrial 

1 Annual Report of the Services of Supply, 1942, pp. 
1-2: Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943, p. 193. 

2 CD, ASF, Statistical Review, World War II, p. 2. 

3 Civilian Production Administration, Industrial 
Mobilization for War: History of the War Production Board 
and Predecessor Agencies 1940-1945, I (Washington, U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 1947), p. 170. This vol- 
ume is the official, published history of the WPB. 
(Hereafter cited as Industrial Mobilization for War.) 



This lesson had been taught in World 
War I. 4 The need for general industrial 
preparedness had been acknowledged by 
Congress in amending the National De- 
fense Act of 4 June 1920. Among the pro- 
visions of the legislation was Section 5a 
which said that the Assistant Secretary of 
War would supervise War Department 
procurement and should make "adequate 
provision for the mobilization of materiel and in- 
dustrial organizations essential to wartime 
needs." 5 Upon the basis of this somewhat 
ambiguous language grew the industrial 
mobilization planning of the War Depart- 
ment from 1920 to 1940. The Navy De- 
partment was associated, in name at least, 
with this effort through the device of the 
Army and Navy Munitions Board. 

The Industrial Mobilization Plan 

Although it had borne the responsibility 
for industrial mobilization planning for 
the federal government between the two 
wars, the War Department never had any 
doubts about the necessity for separate 
and distinct administrative machinery to 
direct industrial mobilization. The 1939 
revision of the so-called Industrial Mobili- 
zation Plan was the last one prepared and 
published by the ANMB before World 
War II. 8 Actually, the document was a 
"plan" only in a limited sense. It was not 
a substantive program dealing with details 
of operations or with estimates of magni- 
tude; rather it set forth a proposed organi- 
zational plan for agencies to be set up in 
order to accomplish industrial mobiliza- 

The Industrial Mobilization Plan 
briefly sketched the reasons for govern- 
ment control of industrial resources in 
wartime and outlined the broad elements 
involved in such control. The plan then 

presented positive organizational propos- 
als. When war became imminent, the 
President, "under the authority accorded 
him by the Constitution and by the Con- 
gress," was to supervise industrial mobili- 
zation before serious economic problems 
developed. But the magnitude and emer- 
gency nature of the task required an "ade- 
quate organizational set-up to which this 
responsibility may be delegated. It is con- 
templated that such a set-up will be manned 
by qualified civilians chosen by the President. 
Appropriate representatives of the military 
services will advise and assist in the 
accomplishment of the task involved." 7 
The plan then gave suggestions for the 
internal organization and the responsibili- 
ties of a proposed War Resources Admin- 
istration, together with brief statements 
about other needed emergency agencies, 
such as a War Finance Administration, a 
War Labor Administration, and a Price 
Control Authority. 

There are three features of the Indus- 
trial Mobilization Plan which deserve 
particular notice. First, the plan contem- 
plated a civilian agency to direct industrial 
mobilization as a whole. The plan specifi- 
cally declared that in wartime the opera- 
tion of the various emergency agencies 
would be undertaken by civilian adminis- 
trators selected by the President. 8 Second, 
the Army and Navy would continue to be 

* See Bernard M. Baruch, American Industry in the 
War (New York, Prentice- Hall, Inc., 1941), princi- 
pally a reprint of the 1921 report of the War Indus- 
tries Board; America's Munitions (Washington, U.S. 
Government Printing Office, 1919), a report of Bene- 
dict Crowell, the Assistant Secretary of War and 
Director of Munitions. 

5 41 Statute 764, Sec. 5a. Italics are the author's. 

6 Industrial Mobilization Plan, Revision of 1939, ap- 
proved jointly by the acting Secretaries of the War 
and Navy Departments, Senate Doc. 134, 76th Cong, 
2d Sess. 

7 Ibid., p. 4. Italics are the author's. 

8 Ibid., -p. 13. 



responsible for determining direct military 
supply requirements and for actually plac- 
ing orders and expediting the production 
of war equipment. The plan recognized 
that in war, the "actual procurement of 
the munitions needed by the services" 
should continue to be performed by mili- 
tary officials. In the third place, the role of 
the War Resources Administration was 
one of "wartime industrial coordination": 
it was to adjust military requirements for 
productive resources with other essential 
needs. The extent and nature of the meas- 
ures necessary to this task would be deter- 
mined by the civilian agency. 

Thus there was nothing in the prewar 
thinking of the War Department which 
suggested any belief that the Army or the 
Navy or the ANMB could or should "con- 
trol the civilian economy." Indeed, in 
response to the criticism that industrial 
leaders themselves had played no part in 
creating the Industrial Mobilization Plan, 
the War Department in July 1939 set up a 
Committee of Review, composed of promi- 
nent business men, to make suggestions 
about industrial mobilization." The War 
Resources Board, established with Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's approval on 9 August 
1939, criticized the centralization of eco- 
nomic controls in a proposed War Re- 
sources Administration and suggested that 
the seven agencies contemplated by the 
plan function directly under the President. 
But the board said nothing to indicate 
that the Army and Navy should not be 
responsible for the procurement of end- 
items of military equipment. 

Industrial Preparation for War 

From the time that President Roosevelt 
set up the Advisory Commission to the 
Council of National Defense (NDAC) on 

28 May 1940 until the creation of the War 
Production Board on 7 January 1942, a 
number of different agencies and a variety 
of methods were employed by the federal 
government to mobilize the industrial re- 
sources of the nation. 10 Two general aspects 
of this development are pertinent here. At 
first the central civilian agency gave most 
of its attention to assisting the armed 
forces in expanding their organization and 
in improving their procedures for large- 
scale procurement. This phase had practi- 
cally been completed at the time of Pearl 
Harbor. Thereafter, the principal task was 
to control the use of the nation's produc- 
tive resources for military output and 
essential civilian needs. This was increas- 
ingly necessary after Pearl Harbor. 

When the NDAC began to operate, the 
procurement bureaus of the War Depart- 
ment were just beginning to recover from 
twenty years of limited personnel and 
meager operations. Under the circum- 
stances the Advisory Commission saw as 
its first task the job of helping the armed 
forces, both in finding the necessary pro- 
ductive facilities and in letting contracts 
for the rapidly increasing volume of de- 
sired supplies. This assistance was provided 
mainly through two units, a Purchases 
Division and a Production Division, as 
they were identified in the Office of Pro- 
duction Management after January 1941. 
The Purchases Division helped the Office 
of The Quartermaster General in the pur- 
chase of food stuffs, clothing, and general 
Army supplies (including trucks). Mr. 
Douglas C. MacKeachie of this division 
was instrumental in persuading The 
Quartermaster General to set up regional 
market centers for the purchase of prod- 
uce to be supplied Army posts and air 

9 Ibid., pp. 6-7. 

10 Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 17-197 passim. 



bases. This system was retained through- 
out the war and proved highly satisfactory. 
The Production Division worked closely 
with the Office of the Chief of Ordnance 
in finding contractors for tanks, guns, and 
ammunition. During 1941 when the OPM 
took over the Social Security Building for 
its work, the Chief of Ordnance moved his 
Washington office into the building in 
order to work even more closely with 
OPM. At this early stage there was little 
for a civilian agency to do in "controlling" 
the economy since there were great unused 
resources in materials, manpower, and 
facilities to be absorbed by the defense 

A priorities system on a very simple 
basis was begun as early as August 1940. 
The Army and Navy agreed on the pref- 
erences to be assigned some two hundred 
primary items of equipment, and priori- 
ties were accordingly assigned by military 
procurement offices. While the NDAC 
gave its consent to the arrangement, the 
operation remained entirely in the hands 
of Army and Navy purchasing officials. 
Then in October 1940, the President offi- 
cially created a Priorities Board, and a 
further extension of preference ratings to 
military procurement items was arranged 
in December. 11 

While there were occasional disagree- 
ments over priorities between the OPM 
and Army and Navy officials, the pattern 
begun in 1940 was retained throughout 
1941. Army and Navy purchasing officers 
assigned preference ratings to their pro- 
curement contracts according to a scheme 
jointly worked out through the Army and 
Navy Munitions Board and approved by 
OPM. These preference ratings might be 
handed to a first subcontractor by the 
prime contractor, and to all subcontractors 
for military items placed on a "critical 

list." The official history of the War Pro- 
duction Board comments that "the inade- 
quacy of the OPM staff, and its complete 
lack of a field organization, were the pri- 
mary reasons why so much of the priorities 
power was thus surrendered to the Armed 
Services." 12 

During the second half of 1941 the 
Ordnance Department began to take over 
from OPM the personnel who had been 
helping to find production facilities and to 
let contracts. By the time the Army Service 
Forces was created this process of absorp- 
tion was practically completed. This 
change, described as "one of the signifi- 
cant developments of 1941," has been 
lamented in the official history of the 
WPB. "These transfers marked the end of 
any effective civilian influence over the 
production or scheduling of direct military 
items or components." 13 

In the second half of 1941 there was a 
policy conflict within the government over 
the curtailment of civilian production of 
items consuming large quantities of metals, 
such as automobiles and refrigerators. In- 
deed, the basic issues confronting OPM 
just before Pearl Harbor were how far to 
curtail civilian production and consump- 
tion, how fast to convert from industrial to 
war output, and how most effectively to 
exercise central control over the distribu- 
tion of basic metals production. The armed 
services contributed to, but certainly did 
not dominate, these discussions. 

According to the official history of the 
War Production Board, three basic devel- 
opments in military procurement and in- 
dustrial mobilization had taken place by 
the time of Pearl Harbor. First, the armed 
forces continued to let contracts for all 

11 Ibid., pp. 61, 64-67. 

12 Ibid., pp. 117-18. 
™Ibid., p. 119. 



end-items of military equipment. Their 
procurement officers issued preference rat- 
ings to their own contractors to help them 
obtain necessary raw materials and com- 
ponent parts. Second, civilian-managed 
agencies reporting directly to the President 
had been created. At first these agencies 
had worked with the military procure- 
ment agencies to improve purchasing op- 
erations, but gradually the OPM became 
more and more of a central control agency, 
directing the utilization of national pro- 
ductive resources. Third, close relation- 
ships between military procurement 
agencies and the central control agency 
became increasingly essential. Naturally, 
Army and Navy officers asked for a voice 
in formulating economic mobilization 
policy. But the Office of Production Man- 
agement had begun to object on the 
ground that this would give the military 
too much power over predominantly 
civilian interests. 14 

On the other hand, civilian leaders 
never questioned the advisability of hav- 
ing the military direct its own procure- 
ment activities. Mr. Bernard Baruch, who 
headed the War Industries Board in World 
War I, advised that a civilian agency 
should never sign Army contracts. Mr. 
Donald M. Nelson, Baruch's counterpart 
in World War II, noted: "This advice sank 
into and anchored itself into my mind, 
and I never deviated from it." 15 

The Creation of the WPB 

A month after Pearl Harbor the Presi- 
dent created a new general policy body, 
the War Production Board. In contrast to 
its predecessors — the Supply Priorities and 
Allocation Board (SPAB) 16 and the Office 
of Production Management 17 which 
lacked the authority to meet the rising 

emergency — the new board had wide, 
though somewhat ill-defined, powers. 18 

In addition to absorbing the authority 
vested in OPM and SPAB, the War Pro- 
duction Board was to "exercise general 
direction" over wartime procurement and 
production. Specifically, this included the 
power to determine basic policies, plans, 
procedures, and methods for guiding fed- 
eral agencies in the matter of purchasing, 
contracting, specifications, construction, 
conversion, requisitioning, and plant ex- 
pansion. The chairman of the WPB would 
issue whatever directives were necessary; 
he would report from time to time to the 
President; and, of course, he would per- 
form any other duties that the President 
desired. Moreover, federal departments 
and agencies were to comply with the 
policies and procedures on war procure- 
ment and production as determined by 
the WPB chairman, as well as to provide 
him with necessary information. The 
chairman was to exercise his powers 
through such officials or agencies as he 
might determine, and his decisions were to 
be final. As chairman, President Roosevelt 
appointed Mr. Donald M. Nelson. 

The authority conferred upon the chair- 
man of the War Production Board was 
broad indeed. But it was also vague. What 
constituted "general direction" over war 
procurement? Did the authority "to deter- 
mine policies, plans, procedures, and 
methods" of federal departments and 
agencies purchasing war supplies imply 
the power to transfer procurement activi- 
ties from one agency to another — specifi- 
cally from the Army to the WPB? 

'* Ibid. 

15 Donald M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy (New 
Yofk, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1946), p. 103. 

16 EO 8875, 28 Aug 41. 
" EO 8629, 7 Jan 41. 

18 EO9024, 16 Jan 42. 


Mr. Nelson later recorded that at one 
time he did consider the possibility of 
transferring all military procurement to 
the WPB. It was his belief that the Presi- 
dent would have approved and supported 
such a decision on his part. But after 
thinking the problem through, he "de- 
cided against such action in the interest of 
more rapid production." He added that 
"if I had the same decision to make over 
again I would do exactly the same 
thing." 19 Mr. Nelson gave several reasons 
for his decision: the time needed to build 
a new organization, the recollection of 
Mr. Baruch's advice against a civilian 
agency signing munitions contracts, the 
disruption of the military services if pro- 
curement officers were all transferred to a 
civilian agency, the confusion that might 
result over specifications and inspection 
responsibilities, and the legal obstacles in- 
cluding appropriation practices. 20 

Whatever Nelson's reasons for not tak- 
ing this step, one may entertain at least a 
grave doubt that the authority conferred 
upon the chairman of the WPB conveyed 
the power to transfer procurement oper- 
ations away from the Army and Navy. By 
long-standing legislation the purchase of 
military equipment had been vested in 
various parts of the War and Navy De- 
partments. Under the First War Powers 
Act of 1941, the President might have 
transferred this authority to another 
agency, but he did not actually do so in 
Executive Order 9024. While the lan- 
guage of the order was very broad, it 
seems unlikely that the President was 
delegating to Mr. Nelson his statutory au- 
thority to determine needed wartime ad- 
ministrative organization. The under- 
standing which had begun to develop be- 
tween the procurement offices of the Army 
and OPM during 1941 suggested a work- 

able relationship. The language of the 
executive order seemed to say only that 
the WPB was still to be a central agency 
with general authority over industrial 
mobilization as a whole, rather than the 
actual procurement agency for all war 

The Army- WPB Agreement 

Nonetheless, the meaning of Executive 
Order 9024, and Mr. Nelson's intent 
thereunder, became immediate and vital 
concerns to the War Department. Before 
9 March 1942 the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War was responsible for War 
Department relations with the War Pro- 
duction Board. The Army half of the 
ANMB was a part of the Under Secre- 
tary's office. Moreover, General Somervell 
as G-4 had taken steps in January 1942 
to build closer working relations with Mr. 
Nelson. The informal group working on 
supply reorganization of the War Depart- 
ment requested Mr. Nelson to assign 
someone to participate in this activity. 
Both Mr. A. C. C. Hill, Jr., and Mr. E. A. 
Locke, Jr., personal assistants to Mr. Nel- 
son, sat with the group in February. Mr. 
Nelson, it will be recalled, was consulted 
about the pending reorganization of the 
War Department, and in fact had ex- 
pressed the opinion that General Somer- 
vell would be a good man to command 
the new Army Service Forces. 21 

On 12 March 1942, just three days after 
the ASF came into being, Under Secre- 
tary Patterson and Mr. Nelson signed a 
joint agreement defining the respective 
functions of the War Department and the 
WPB in military procurement and indus- 

19 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy , p. 198. 

20 Ibid., pp. 1 98-200 . 

21 See above, [p. io.| 



trial mobilization. In an account of his 
wartime experiences, Mr. Nelson repro- 
duces this agreement in full and then 

I have never felt any reason to regret the 
arrangement made that spring with the fight- 
ing services, for I am convinced of the sound- 
ness of the pattern we set: the Armed Forces 
undertook to assume full responsibility for all 
phases of the job which they were best quali- 
fied to handle, while the civilian agency be- 
came accountable for the maximum use of 
the Nation's economic resources, doing for 
the common benefit the tasks which, if left to 
themselves, the Armed Forces could not pos- 
sibly have performed. 22 

No one in the Army Service Forces of the 
War Department at any time would have 
dissented from any part of this statement 
by Mr. Nelson. 

The impetus for the 1942 agreement 
came from the same informal group under 
Mr. Goldthwaite Dorr which worked on 
internal War Department reorganization. 
The relations of the procurement agencies 
of the Army to the War Production Board 
in 1942 were at a crucial stage. Though 
the Army had been neither too well pre- 
pared nor too aggressive in pushing mili- 
tary procurement before Pearl Harbor, 
the situation had definitely changed there- 
after. Yet it was quite apparent that great 
confusion surrounded Army-WPB rela- 
tions after the 16 January executive order. 
If the collaboration of the two, so vital to 
the success of the war effort, was to go 
forward effectively, fear and suspicion had 
to be allayed. Unless this was done, there 
was danger that persons within the WPB 
might charge that the Army was trying to 
"take over the civilian economy." On the 
other hand, early in 1942 the Army was 
definitely worried about the WPB taking 
over direct military'procurement. Where- 
upon Mr. Dorr, joined by Mr. Robert R. 

West and Colonel C. F. Robinson of Gen- 
eral Somervell's staff, approached Nel- 
son's assistants, Mr. Hill and Mr. Locke, 
about setting forth a joint agreement on 
mutual responsibilities. Nelson's assist- 
ants acknowledged the need for such an 
agreement, and accordingly the 12 March 
document was worked out. 23 

The 12 March agreement was vitally 
important. 24 True, it did not prevent sub- 
sequent conflict between the ASF and the 
WPB, but it did indicate General Somer- 
vell's belief in the importance of maintain- 
ing desirable relationships between the 
two agencies. During all major disputes 
that later arose, Under Secretary Patter- 
son, General Somervell, and other ASF 
representatives came back to this agree- 
ment as the "magna charta" defining 
relationships with the WPB. Their atti- 
tude was that all difficulties could be 
settled by using this agreement as the 
basic formula. 

The agreement of 1 2 March stated that 
the War Production Board had certain 
over-all functions in controlling the re- 
sources of the American economy, includ- 
ing the production and distribution of raw 
materials. Under it the War Department 
would present its supply requirements to 
the WPB and would procure end-items of 
munitions. More specifically, the WPB 
was charged with making the basic deci- 
sions about the allocation of economic re- 
sources in accordance with strategic plans; 
with providing the means — i. e. materials, 
services, tools, and facilities — needed to 

22 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, p. 376. 

23 Dorr, Memorandum Notes, p. 64. 

24 Memo, Chm WPB and USW to offs and em- 
ployees of SOS and Matfriel Comd, AAF WD, and 
WPB, 12 Mar 42, sub: Relationships Between the 
WPB an d the WD, Hq ASF, WPB (3) 1942. (Repro- 
duced in lAppendix Dl) 



carry out the total war effort; and with 
organizing industry for war production. 
To carry out these duties most effectively, 
it would be necessary for the WPB to co- 
operate with the War Department in the 
review of supply programs, and, in the 
light of military necessities, to adjust civil- 
ian programs within the limitation of total 
resources. Besides integrating and adjust- 
ing military and civilian requirements, the 
WPB would supervise the total utilization 
of the economic resources of the nation; 
develop sources and production of raw 
materials as well as services (including 
transportation, power, and communica- 
tions); stock-pile raw materials and those 
end products which were likely to be in 
short supply at some future date; expedite 
the production of raw materials, machine 
tools, and industrial supplies, or any items 
where the War Department could not do 
so without conflicting with other agencies; 
curtail nonessential uses of materials, 
facilities, services and manpower indis- 
pensable to the accomplishment of the 
munitions program; expand available 
skilled manpower (through training, 
transfer, and reduction in man-hours); 
direct the provision of facilities needed to 
produce raw materials, equipment, tools 
and services; determine the plants or in- 
dustries which should be converted to the 
production of supplies for the War Depart- 
ment and help the War Department to 
carry out that conversion; assure the pro- 
duction of necessary facilities auxiliary to 
the production and distribution of mili- 
tary supplies; organize industrial co-oper- 
ation with government agencies; main- 
tain a virile civilian economy consistent 
with war necessity; distribute the avail- 
able supply of raw materials and industrial 
equipment with particular reference to 
the major using agencies; and finally, 

make decisions, legal or otherwise, which 
had to do with priorities, allocations, and 
requisitions, and placement of orders in 
existing facilities. 

On the other hand, the War Depart^ 
ment would continue its traditional inter- 
ests in supply matters. Through the Army 
Service Forces and through the newly 
created Materiel Command of the Army 
Air Forces the War Department would, in 
compliance with WPB directives, carry on 
the research, design, development, pro- 
gramming, purchase, production, storage, 
distribution, issue, maintenance, and sal- 
vage of military equipment. To carry out 
this mission, the War Department would 
determine military needs and translate 
them into a statement of requirements for 
raw materials, machine tools, and labor; 
convert available plants and industries to 
war production (assisted by WPB); nego- 
tiate the purchase of military supplies by 
the placement and administration of con- 
tracts; produce, inspect and accept mili- 
tary goods; issue shipping instructions and 
plan for distribution; construct and ex- 
pand plants for the production of end- 
items; expedite production of finished 
items where there was no conflict with 
other agencies; conserve raw materials in- 
sofar as possible by the elimination of non- 
essential items and by the simplification 
and standardization of others. Finally, the 
WPB and the War Department were to 
develop close organizational relationships 
by direct contact between officials in both 
agencies who were concerned with com- 
mon problems. 

Even before this agreement was made, 
Under Secretary Patterson had begun to 
arrange for the transfer of key personnel 
from the WPB to the Army. One of the 
phases of military procurement specified 
in the statement was: "purchase, includ- 



ing the negotiation, placement, and ad- 
ministration of contracts." As previously 
noted, the predecessor agencies of the War 
Production Board at first had done much 
to assist Army procurement bureaus in 
placing contracts. Mr. Patterson, and then 
General Somervell, had asked that key 
WPB personnel performing this work be 
transferred to the military staff where 
these individuals could use direct com- 
mand authority to continue their work. 
The two most prominent persons trans- 
ferred shortly thereafter were Mr. D. C. 
MacKeachie, formerly of the Great Atlan- 
tic and Pacific Tea Company, and Mr. 
Albert J. Browning, formerly president of 
the United Wall Paper Factories, Inc. 
Both men were commissioned as colonels 
and given the responsibility of directing 
the Purchases Division in ASF headquar- 
ters. Though the action was criticized 
within the WPB and elsewhere as an ab- 
dication to the armed forces, Mr. Nelson 
apparently believed this to be a wise 
policy. 25 

Trouble Starts 

In March 1942 the prospects of friendly 
and effective co-operation between the 
WPB and the ASF looked bright indeed. 
But there were portents of trouble ahead, 
portents of which leading officials in the 
ASF, including General Somervell him- 
self, unfortunately were unaware. 

According to the official history of the 
WPB, hostility within that agency toward 
the Army Service Forces began to brew 
within a month. In the process of working 
out the supervision of the seven technical 
services, which were the procurement 
agencies of the War Department, General 
Somervell's office continued to discuss his 
problems with the WPB. In amalgamat- 
ing the Supply Division of the War De- 

partment General Staff and the Office of 
the Under Secretary of War, Somervell 
had created a Resources Division in ASF 
headquarters. 26 None of the duties as- 
signed this office were any different from 
those for which the Under Secretary had 
been responsible since 1920. There were 
units to supervise machine tools, raw ma- 
terials, power, product standardization, 
facilities, and manpower problems within 
the ASF. The Resources Division was to 
follow these aspects of procurement oper- 
ations by the seven technical services, 
make adjustments among them, and pre- 
sent consolidated requirements to the 
WPB. There was no implication in this 
arrangement that the ASF could settle all 
these problems, but only that the ASF as 
a unit would deal directly with the WPB 
on these matters. But the duties of the Re- 
sources Division in ASF headquarters 
were regarded inside the WPB as a "du- 
plication of functions," as threatening to 
diminish and even to eliminate WPB con- 
trols. 27 In the past the WPB and its prede- 
cessors had dealt directly with the heads of 
technical services. Now it was expected to 
deal primarily with ASF headquarters, 
rather than with each technical service in- 
dividually. Key personnel in WPB appar- 
ently believed that this development 
would impede their operations. Mr. Nel- 
son has written that "our relations with 
the Quartermaster Corps, the Ordnance 
Department, the Signal Corps, the Medi- 
cal Corps, and the Corps of Engineers, 
which were the chief procurement agen- 
cies, were always splendid. But above this 
level we always had trouble." 28 

ss D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, p. 370. 
29 See beIow, rp~55gn 

27 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 215. 

28 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, p. 358. 



The reason for this "trouble," according 
to Mr. Nelson, was a fundamental differ- 
ence in viewpoint between General 
Somervell and himself. Nelson believed 
that Somervell was opposed to making 
raw materials available for even the most 
essential civilian needs. Actually Somer- 
vell took no such position. The determina- 
tion of "essential civilian requirements" 
for wartime production planning and con- 
trol was so complex that the WPB itself 
was never able to solve this problem satis- 
factorily. 29 Because essential civilian pro- 
duction requirements limited military 
procurement, it was natural that the 
Army Service Forces should ask about and 
examine estimates of civilian supply just 
as WPB officials reviewed and revised 
military estimates to make them conform 
to production possibilities. General Somer- 
vell and his aides disagreed with the WPB 
on details and specific figures, but they 
never took the position that there was no 
such thing as essential civilian require- 
ments nor did they ever question the fact 
that the final decision on these require- 
ments rested with Mr. Nelson, and after 
May 1943, with Justice James F. Byrnes. 

The controversy over essential civilian 
needs raged ceaselessly. On the one hand, 
the ASF could quote Mr. Julius A. Krug, 
Nelson's successor as chairman of the War 
Production Board. His final report to the 
President at the end of the war pointed 
out that as great as our war effort was, it 
never absorbed more than two fifths of our 
national output. Because of their higher 
and steadier income, civilians during 
World War II consumed more than they 
did in the best prewar years. "Through- 
out the war," Mr. Krug said, "the people 
at home were subjected to inconvenience, 
rather than sacrifice." 30 On the other 
hand, Mr. Nelson argued that the ASF 

was unreasonable on the question of pro- 
viding essential civilian goods. Asserting 
that a healthy civilian economy was a 
prerequisite of maximum war production, 
he observed that General Somervell ob- 
jected even to such items as new replace- 
ments for farm machinery and for repairs 
to coal mining equipment. Certainly the 
WPB was subjected to intense pressure 
not only from Somervell, but from Secre- 
tary of War Stimson, Secretary of the 
Navy Knox, Under Secretary of War Pat- 
terson and other top military officials. 
Nelson grimly stuck to his guns in defend- 
ing his position. 

Even though there was disagreement 
over what constituted essential civilian 
requirements, there was little doubt that 
as national production reached its maxi- 
mum, military needs could be met only by 
cutting allocations to the civilian econ- 
omy. In order to reconcile civilian and 
military claims with the nation's economic 
resources, it was necessary for representa- 
tives of the WPB and the armed forces to 
work closely together. Within a month of 
his appointment as commanding general 
of the ASF, Somervell asked his Control 
Division, working with representatives 
from Mr. Nelson's office, to explore this 
problem in organizational terms and to 
recommend a desirable solution. The re- 
sult was a study which General Somervell 
transmitted to Mr. Nelson on 15 May 
1942. Because of the cover in which it was 
bound, this study came to be known as 
"the black book." 31 In his letter of trans- 

29 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 216. 

30 Wartime Production Achievements and the Reconver- 
sion Outlook: Report of the Chairman, War Production 
Board, October9, 1945 (Washington, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, 1945), p. 1. 

31 Somervell to D. M. Nelson, 15 May 42, Hq ASF, 



mittal, General Somervell pointed out 
that the proposals contained in the study 
had already been informally discussed 
with the chairman of the WPB and that 
they were designed to streamline proce- 
dure. The organizational arrangements, 
he stated, seemed to be inadequate and 
remedial measures were essential. The 
proposed changes, he added, could be car- 
ried out easily within the existing frame- 
work of war organization and without 
destroying public confidence in the War 
Production Board. 

The study which Somervell forwarded 
for Mr. Nelson's consideration was en- 
titled Report on Certain Features of the Organ- 
izational Problems Involved in Developing 
Resources to Meet Strategic Requirements.™ 
The report was predicated on a general 
proposition which was already being 
much discussed within the ASF; namely, 
that the military operations of the war 
would be greatly influenced, if not domi- 
nated, by the limitations of industrial out- 
put. For example, the supply of copper 
was insufficient to meet all requirements. 
Accordingly, it was essential for strategic 
decisions to be adjusted in the light of 
available supplies of raw materials and 
the resulting military equipment provided 
from current war production. The prin- 
cipal defect of the present organization for 
industrial mobilization was, the report de- 
clared, an inadequate arrangement for 
correlating strategy, logistics require- 
ments, and productive resources. The 
report also pointed out the need for more 
systematic procedures in the WPB for con- 
trolling the distribution of available raw 
materials. To meet the need, it recom- 
mended a system of formal committees to 
promote closer collaboration between the 
WPB and the War and Navy Depart- 
ments. Most important of all, it suggested 

new machinery to tie together the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff, the War Production 
Board, and the procurement agencies of 
the armed forces. 

The ASF report acknowledged the gen- 
erally accepted fact that existing proce- 
dures for controlling the distribution of 
raw materials were unsatisfactory. Al- 
though the Army point of view on a 
"satisfactory" method of control was in 
process of development, it was not pre- 
sented in the report. The report did pro- 
pose certain changes in internal WPB 
organization, on the assumption that con- 
trol of raw materials production, conserva- 
tion, and distribution had become the 
central tasks of the WPB. It suggested that 
the WPB Requirements Committee, 
which had been officially created on 20 
January 1942 by Mr. Nelson, and which 
included representatives of the Army and 
Navy, become the center of WPB decision 
making on raw materials questions and 
that subordinate committees for each es- 
sential raw material be created, each with 
Army, Navy, and other appropriate rep- 
resentation. 33 Once more the ASF report 
contemplated that decisive authority 
would remain in the WPB; it was simply 
recommending what it thought was 
stronger machinery for collaborative rela- 

The ASF report further dealt with a 
suggested over-all arrangement for the 
correlation of production and strategy. 
The period immediately after Pearl Har- 
bor brought a number of efforts to develop 
close military co-operation between the 
United States and the United Kingdom. 
One of these was the creation of a Com- 

32 A copy of the report may be found in the files of 
the Control Division, ASF. 

33 Ibid., pp. 29ff. 



bined Raw Materials Board, 34 announced 
by the President and the Prime Minister 
on 26 January 1942. 3 5 On the assumption 
that the Combined Raw Materials Board 
might become a major factor in determin- 
ing the use of American raw materials, the 
ASF proposed that the board be set up as 
an agency of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 
just as the Munitions Assignments Board 
was. This would acknowledge that raw 
material resources and their use in war 
production were intimately related to 
military strategy. In addition, the mem- 
bership of the board should be reconsti- 
tuted, although the chairman should be a 
civilian. By proposing that the chairman 
of this board should be the same person 
who was chairman of the MAB, the ASF 
was nominating Mr. Harry Hopkins for 
the position. It was also suggested that the 
American membership on the board 
should be increased to include representa- 
tives of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces. 

This recommendation was not intended 
to suggest that military officers would out- 
vote the WPB on the Combined Raw 
Materials Board. Rather, the civilian 
chairman was expected to have the same 
power of decision as that vested in the 
chairman of the WPB, who while he 
might seek advice from the military, had 
final and complete authority. The Army 
did not want power, it wanted an oppor- 
tunity formally to know what was hap- 
pening and to present its case. And it 
wanted to make sure that American raw 
materials were used in substantial propor- 
tion for American war needs rather than 
for United Kingdom production. 

It should be emphasized once more that 
the ASF report was for discussion only; 
that it was transmitted to Mr. Nelson for 
his "consideration." It was by no means a 
carefully worked out, detailed organiza- 
tion plan. Moreover, the report had been 

shown beforehand to persons in Mr. Nel- 
son's office, and none of them advised 
General Somervell not to transmit the 
ASF report to Mr. Nelson. Rather, they 
indicated that the report would be helpful 
in the internal reorganization of the WPB 
which was pending and which was even- 
tually announced by Mr. Nelson on 8 July 
1942. 36 To make matters worse, General 
Somervell's trip overseas at this time pre- 
vented a personal meeting to iron out dif- 
ficulties, and the subsequent "leaking" of 
the story to the press aggravated the 
situation. Byjune when General Somer- 
vell returned, it was too late. The sparks 
had been fanned into a flame. 

Mr. Nelson's reply to the Somervell 
letter came as a bombshell. 37 From a later 
vantage point, to be sure, much of it seems 
reasonable. But in the atmosphere of the 
war production crisis of 1942 the letter 
crystallized a disagreement on fundamen- 
tals. In a sense it was an open challenge to 
the Army Service Forces. Apparently in 
fear of military encroachment, important 
figures in the WPB had persuaded Mr. 

34 In spite of the fact that the American representa- 
tive on the board, Mr. William L. Batt, was a high 
official of WPB, others in the War Production Board 
feared that the combined agency might duplicate 
their own work. In May 1942 General Somervell and 
his advisers made the mistake of believing that this 
Combined Raw Materials Board might become an 
important international agency. They did not foresee 
that the board would play only a minor role through- 
out the war. See Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 
222-24, 628-29. Cf. S. McKee Rosen, The Combined 
Boards of the Second World War (New York, Columbia 
University Press, 1951), pp. 1-70. 

35 Joint Declaration, Churchill- Roosevelt, 26 Jan 
42, ABC 334.8 MAB (1-31-42) Sec. 1. 

36 According to Mr. Dorr, when Somervell's letter 
transmitting the "black book" reached Mr. Nelson's 
office, it was not routed to the people who had been 
informed of its contents, but went instead to other in- 
dividuals who were already alarmed by what they 
regarded as ASF encroachment upon the WPB. See 
Dorr, Memorandum Notes, p. 74. 

37 Ltr, D. M. Nelson to Somervell, 21 May 42, Hq 



Nelson to fight for his authority. To them 
it involved the fundamental issue of 
civilian control over the nation's economy. 

The charge that the Army was trying to 
take over the civilian economy had been 
made before and was to be repeated over 
and over in subsequent disputes. The diffi- 
culty seems to have been a lack of mutual 
understanding. Not only Somervell, but 
Under Secretary Patterson, and even 
General Marshall himself, expressed their 
concern over the impact of civilian con- 
sumption on Army supply. 38 Shortly be- 
fore Mr. Nelson's answer to Somervell, the 
WPB had become involved over a similar 
issue with the Army and Navy Munitions 
Board. 39 To many sensitive civilians, rais- 
ing the question of military interest in 
economic matters seemed a threat to civil- 
ian rights. Statements by a man as forth- 
right as General Somervell, driving 
relentlessly to achieve the goals of the 
Army Supply Program, could easily be 
interpreted as an effort by the military to 
sit in judgment upon essential civilian re- 
quirements. Actually Somervell had no 
such idea and he believed that Mr. Nel- 
son's remark that "it would be a funda- 
mental mistake to put the apportionment 
of materials for the essential civilian econ- 
omy under the military" — was as irrele- 
vant as it was unfounded. 

Mr. Nelson in his reply also discussed 
three other elements of the ASF proposal. 
He agreed that the existing machinery for 
controlling the distribution of raw mate- 
rials was inadequate but held that this was 
largely because of the loose manner in 
which Army and Navy procurement 
officers issued preference ratings, and be- 
cause of "the failure of the services to pre- 
sent accurate statements of their require- 
ments." For example, on a common 
nonmilitary item such as typewriters, the 
Army's originally stated requirement for 

1942 was more than double the amount 
calculated to be adequate for the entire 
civilian economy in the same year. 

Mr. Nelson noted the ASF proposal for 
reorganization within the War Production 
Board and observed that the WPB was 
already studying desirable changes. The 
ASF suggestions concerning the Require- 
ments Committee and subordinate com- 
modity committees were helpful, Mr. 
Nelson remarked, and he suggested fur- 
ther conversations on this matter. 

To Mr. Nelson the most far-reaching 
ASF suggestion was the one proposing a 
new over-all arrangement for co-ordinat- 
ing strategy and production. He agreed 
"emphatically" that this was necessary, 
but declared that the ASF method was 
"basically in error." The ASF miscon- 
ceived the nature of the materials problem 
on two scores. First, the management of 
raw and basic materials could not be 
"ripped out of the process of managing 
production, segregated, and handled 
separately." The attempt to draw a paral- 
lel between the work of the Combined 
Raw Materials Board which dealt with 
the "whole vast process of production" 
and the Munitions Assignments Board, 
which was merely a scheduling agency, 
missed the point, Mr. Nelson asserted. 
Second, it was strategy and production 
goals of end-items and not strategy and 
the distribution of raw materials which 
had to be correlated. Moreover, he ar- 
gued, the success of the program rested 
"not with the Chiefs of Staff, but with the 
chiefs of production. . . . The battle of 
production is the primary responsibility of 
the chairman of the WPB in much the 

38 Min, 5th Mtg, CCS, 17 Feb 42, Item 3. 

39 Memo, Roosevelt to D. M. Nelson, 1 May 42, 
included in Memo, Roosevelt toJCS, 1 May 42, sub: 
Recommendations . . . for Priority of Production of 
War Munitions, CCS 400.17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 



same sense that military battles are the 
primary responsibility of the military 
chiefs." The solution to the problem of co- 
ordination of strategy and production was 
a continuous and harmonious co-opera- 
tion between the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
and the War Production Board. 

Mr. Nelson's heated reply to the ASF 
"black book" opened "a breach which 
was never closed," to use Nelson's own 
words. 40 The WPB chairman used the in- 
cident as the occasion to assert that the 
WPB could control the economic re- 
sources of the nation without organiza- 
tional advice or assistance from the ASF. 
Instead of simply thanking General Som- 
ervell for his interest and then overlooking 
the matter, Mr. Nelson retorted in what 
appeared at the time to be some heat, re- 
futing the ASF ideas and putting forth 
other propositions. The WPB reaction was 
all the more disconcerting because it was 
unexpected. The close co-operation be- 
tween Nelson and Somervell which 
seemed in prospect in early 1942 had thus 
evaporated by the end of May. 

The Agreement on Field Offices 

Yet the ASF and the WPB had to work 
together, whether they liked it or not. And 
out of this early attempt at organizing re- 
lationships to mutual advantage, at least 
something was salvaged. The 12 March 
agreement recommended that there be a 
"continuous survey of working relation- 
ships between the two agencies." As a first 
step in this direction, the ASF Control 
Division embarked upon two so-called 
field surveys. Colonel Robinson, director 
of the Control Division, invited leading 
personnel from WPB to participate in 
these surveys. On the first survey, five per- 
sons from the WPB worked closely with 

eight persons from the ASF. On the sec- 
ond, six WPB men collaborated with ten 
persons from the ASF. 

These field surveys made a general 
study of local Army procurement office 
operations, relations with contractors, and 
relations with regional offices of the WPB. 
The purpose was to obtain information 
which would be useful in organizing ASF 
headquarters and in determining which 
problems most needed attention. For ex- 
ample, from these surveys came warnings 
of growing raw materials shortages which 
were hampering military deliveries, and 
of prospective manpower stringencies. 41 
This WPB-ASF collaboration was cordial 
and helpful. Out of it came the Office of 
Organization Planning in the WPB, with 
the ASF consultant who had directed the 
field surveys as its head, Dr. Luther Gu- 
lick. Out of it too, came an agreement on 
WPB-ASF field relationships. The field 
surveys called attention to confusion in the 
relationships between the regional offices 
of the War Production Board and the local 
procurement offices of the ASF technical 

After preliminary discussions between 
Control Division personnel and field op- 
erations officials of the WPB, General 
Somervell sent a letter to Mr. Nelson on 
29 June 1942, setting forth the ASF posi- 
tion on field relations. Finally, on 1 1 Sep- 
tember Nelson replied in a fourteen-page 
letter which was distributed throughout 
the ASF on 22 September 194 2. 42 Nelson 
began by observing that he believed "a 

40 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, p. 359. 

41 See Cincinnati Field Survey, Apr 42; New York 
Field Survey, Contl Br, SOS, May +2 (mimeo- 
graphed), CD, ASF. 

42 SOS Cir 67, 22 Sep 42, w/2 incls. Same corresp 
distributed within WPB as Field Sv Co-ordinating 
Bull 105, 21 Sep 42, w/Ltr, Somervell to D. M. 
Nelson, 1 7 Sep +2. 



pattern has been set for continuing under- 
standing of our respective field organiza- 
tions." He agreed that the proposals were 
based upon the 12 March agreement and 
upon the principle that "functions now be- 
ing performed satisfactorily by either of 
our agencies should not be disturbed re- 
gardless of how logical it may seem to do 
so from an organizational or jurisdictional 
standpoint." Then Mr. Nelson reproduced 
Somervell's letter paragraph by paragraph 
and added his own comments. 

Somervell had noted that, in general, 
the technical service procurement district 
offices "need no asistance in the produc- 
tion expediting and engineering field for 
end-items." WPB personnel performing 
useful services of this nature ought to be 
transferred to appropriate ASF offices and 
WPB units should then withdraw from 
this work. Mr. Nelson assented but added 
that where substantial delays in delivery 
performance arose, procurement district 
offices might request WPB regional offices 
to investigate the reason. He likewise 
agreed that except where required by the 
law setting up the Smaller War Plants 
Corporation, the WPB had no responsi- 
bility for placing contracts for military 
equipment. This "routine day-by-day 
matter" was a function of the procurement 
district office, although WPB regional or- 
ganizations might help in locating con- 
tractors or subcontractors for either a 
procurement district office or a military 
prime contractor. 

In a long paragraph General Somervell 
had set forth his concept of how WPB re- 
gional offices could render "a much 
needed and useful service, by expediting 
and increasing the supply of raw materials, 
semifinished items, and certain compo- 
nents." They could increase the supply by 
encouraging additional shifts; by opening 

closed mines and plants; by urging full 
utilization of refining or smelting capacity, 
by locating hidden, frozen or excess inven- 
tories; and by expediting the production 
of component parts such as boilers, pumps, 
and valves which were being produced by 
the same manufacturer for the armed 
services and the Maritime Commission. To 
this Mr. Nelson replied simply that the 
ASF should look to the WPB for the "de- 
velopment of programs for the increased 
production of raw materials, semifinished 
items, and certain components." 

In the next place, General Somervell 
had expressed his belief that design, speci- 
fications, and the use of substitutes were 
"so intimately connected with the prob- 
lem of the usefulness of finished munitions 
for the purpose intended" that these must 
be left to the Army procurement agencies. 
Mr. Nelson assented. In other paragraphs 
of his letter, Somervell had noted duplica- 
tion and lack of uniformity in surveys of 
both production facilities and machine 
tools. He proposed that WPB adopt and 
administer standard systems and make its 
information available to Army procure- 
ment offices. Nelson agreed and added 
that regional WPB offices would collect 
and provide information and report on 
unused capacity. The procurement dis- 
tricts would then be asked to indicate 
whether any of this capacity could be 
used. 43 

General Somervell had further asked 
that the WPB act as a "screen" and a 
"wailing wall" for manufacturers seeking 

43 SOS CSr 88, 25 Nov 42, officially announced that 
WPB regional offices would be "solely responsible for 
all future general facility surveys," and directed pro- 
curement districts to co-operate with regional offices 
and to make "the fullest use of this new service." The 
WPB developed a standard "Plant Facilities Record" 
for the joint use of the armed services and WPB. 
(Form WPB-1546, 12 Nov 42.) 



war work. It should also provide informa- 
tion about WPB regulations and about 
procedures in obtaining raw materials. On 
this point Mr. Nelson commented that the 
regional offices would be advised to con- 
tinue valuable work of this sort which they 
were already performing. He asked that 
procurement districts notify the proper re- 
gional office from sixty to ninety days in 
advance of the expiration of any contract 
which would make a plant available for 
other work. Subsequent paragraphs in 
Somervell's letter had dealt with WPB's 
role in working with federal, state, and 
local agencies on community problems 
arising out of war production, such as local 
transportation and housing for workers; 
and in working with the War Manpower 
Commission on the use of skilled and semi- 
skilled labor for war production. Mr. Nel- 
son agreed substantially with them and 
indicated how much of this work was 
already being done. 

On the problem of regional boundaries 
Somervell had said only that there ap- 
peared to be "no fully satisfactory solu- 
tion." Nelson referred to the "problem of 
co-ordinate regional boundaries" as 
"almost insurmountable," but added that 
he would have his staff continue to study 
it in collaboration with the ASF Control 
Division. The remaining paragraphs were 
mostly of a general nature. Somervell had 
expressed the hope that ASF procurement 
districts might call upon the WPB regional 
offices for assistance in cases of difficulties. 
He had also expressed the opinion that 
appropriate instructions should be issued 
embodying this agreement. This was done 
by distribution of the correspondence 
within the ASF and WPB. 

This 11 September 1942 letter of Mr. 
Nelson was important for two reasons. 
First, it indicated that WPB officials at the 
working level could sit down with ASF 
officers and adjust their differences satis- 
factorily. Specific issues had been involved 
in these discussions, and presumably the 
final result was as satisfactory to the WPB 
as to the ASF. No "ideological" disputes 
about civilian-military relationships were 
permitted to intrude, and no newspaper 
fanfare accompanied or complicated the 
discussions. 44 Second, the Somervell-Nel- 
son correspondence of September 1942 re- 
affirmed understandings first put forth in 
the 12 March agreement. Obviously the 
ASF regarded full responsibility for letting 
contracts for direct military items and for 
expediting the production of such items as 
essential to its war supply mission. But 
there was still a big job for the WPB to do 
in allocating raw material and other in- 
dustrial resources among various wartime 
needs, and in expediting the production of 
raw materials, component parts, and 
general supplies. 

The ASF never suggested that the WPB 
was unnecessary or that it could do the 
WPB job better. Rather, the ASF concept 
was that the two should work together, 
complementing each other in the task of 
supporting the armed forces in their quest 
for military victory over the Axis. 

44 Certainly the WPB had great difficulty in decid- 
ing just what its field offices were to do and how their 
functions were to fit in with Washington operations. 
See Caroll K. Shaw, Field Organization and Admin- 
istration of the War Production Board and Predeces- 
sor Agencies (mimeographed), Spec Study 25, WPB 
hist rpt on war adm, released by the Civilian Produc- 
tion Adm. 


The ASF and the WPB: 
The Control of Raw Materials 

It is impossible to examine here all of 
the working relationships of the Army 
Service Forces and the War Production 
Board. They were many and varied. But 
all ASF thinking and actions were based 
upon the clear recognition that the mili- 
tary procurement program of World War 
II could not be accomplished without the 
work of the WPB. 

As already indicated, relationships be- 
tween the civilian industrial mobilization 
agency and the military procurement 
services changed with changing circum- 
stances. Thus the Office of Production 
Management reviewed all war contracts 
for more than $500,000 during 1941; in 
1942 the figure was raised to $5,000,000, 
but contract clearance became a mere 
formality and soon practically disap- 
peared. In 1942 a Plant Site Board was 
very active in OPM giving final approval 
to the selection of locations for large-scale 
new plant construction. By the end of 1942 
this work had virtually ceased to have any 
importance. There was some controversy 
about whether the Army was trying to 
build more plants than could be operated 
with the prospective supply of raw mate- 
rials. This issue simmered throughout 1942 
and was more or less settled by the final 
determination of 1943 military production 
requirements. 1 

If output of munitions was the Army's 
number one supply problem in 1942, the 
control of the distribution of raw materials 
was the number one problem of produc- 
tion management. It has already been 
pointed out that a priorities system had 
been introduced as early as the autumn of 
1940 and had been considerably extended 
in February 1941. The early priorities 
system was relatively simple. When letting 
a contract for ammunition, tanks, guns, 
radios, or any other military supply item, 
the procurement district offices of the 
technical services assigned a "preference" 
rating to the contract. This rating was 
then used by the contractor in ordering 
raw materials and component parts for 
the end-item he had agreed to make. Sup- 
pliers were supposed to be guided by 
these preference ratings in distributing 
materials to various industrial users. In 
addition to the military preference ratings, 
there were also ratings for essential civilian 
production. These were granted directly 
by the OPM and later the WPB, usually 
on an individual basis. 

The local Army procurement offices as- 
signed preference ratings in accordance 
with a general pattern of priorities ap- 
proved before March 1942 by the Office 
of the Under Secretary of War, which also 

1 Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 389-95. 



endeavored to get agreement from the 
Navy to follow the same or similar scheme 
of preferences. The Army would then not 
assign higher or lower ratings to tents, or 
clothing, or medical equipment than the 
Navy, or vice versa. The organizational 
device for negotiating these agreements 
was the ANMB. This board was composed 
of two persons, the Under Secretary of 
War and the Under Secretary of the Navy. 
In December 1941 Mr. Patterson and Mr. 
James V. Forrestal persuaded Mr. Ferdi- 
nand Eberstadt, a New York financier, to 
join them as chairman of the board. 2 

A priorities system for guiding the dis- 
tribution of raw materials and component 
parts worked satisfactorily as long as the 
supply exceeded demand. When demand 
began to catch up with and outstrip sup- 
ply, the establishment of priorities alone 
was inadequate. As early as February 
1941, OPM began to experiment with a 
new process of allocating aluminum deliv- 
eries. This was the first, and for a long 
time the only, metal whose military and 
other essential demand outran supply. 
Gradually however, in 1941, civilian de- 
mands for raw materials and industrial 
supplies expanded as the entire economy 
operated at increased levels of output. As 
long as priorities insured adequate deliv- 
eries to military contractors, the War De- 
partment was not directly concerned 
about this situation. It recognized that the 
problem of insuring essential civilian pro- 
duction belonged to the OPM, not to the 
War or Navy Departments. 

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, however, it 
became evident that the priorities system 
was collapsing. As large new sums of 
money were appropriated for military sup- 
plies, Army and Navy procurement of- 
ficers raced one another in letting new 
contracts. On each they assigned the pre- 

vailing preference rating for the item or 
items involved. In a short time, contrac- 
tors found that preference ratings were 
simply licenses to hunt raw materials; they 
were no guarantee of delivery. The whole 
system was being used for a purpose it had 
never been designed to serve and it broke 
down badly. 

Because manufacturers failed to get ma- 
terials with the preference ratings that had 
been assigned to them, procurement offi- 
cers began to upgrade ratings. As a result, 
the differentiation in ratings upon which 
the Army and Navy had agreed and 
which the OPM had approved in 1941 
gradually became meaningless. Within 
the preference rating A-l there were sub- 
divisions ranking from A-l -a to A-l-j. 
Supposedly, in the name of the ANMB, 
the officers supervising procurement op- 
erations in the Army and Navy Depart- 
ments had agreed upon types of equip- 
ment for each rating and even upon 
quantitative limitations. But these agree- 
ments meant nothing in the face of exist- 
ing supply demands and in the absence of 
any means for enforcement. A procure- 
ment officer under pressure to get delivery 
of machine guns, for example, increased 
the preference rating to help the manu- 
facturer. By early 1942, more than 55 per- 
cent of the war production program was 
rated A-l -a by procurement officers. 3 
There was another serious defect in the 
system. With military preference ratings 
clogging the industrial system, few if any 
supplies of raw materials were available 
for essential civilian production such as 
transportation, and other public utilities, 

z F or more details about the ANMB, see below, p. 


3 Memo, ANMB for CCS (American Sec), 26 Feb 
42, sub: Resume of Priorities Situation and Request 
for Revised Directive, JB 355 Ser. 745, CCS 400.17 
(2-20-42) Sec. 1. 



and industrial maintenance requirements. 

The first reaction of OPM was to set up 
an allocation system for crucial materials 
like steel, aluminum, and copper. Proc- 
essors and fabricators of these materials 
were required monthly or quarterly to 
submit a record of their orders on hand, 
with preference ratings, to the appropriate 
industry division of WPB (steel, alumi- 
num, and copper). In consultation with 
Army and Navy officers, the WPB indus- 
try division then undertook to tell the 
processors and fabricators what were the 
most urgent orders they should fill in the 
next month or quarter. This was called al- 
location. But this process was not satisfac- 
tory to either the WPB or the armed 
services since it was not easy to trace or- 
ders for raw materials up to end-items of 
war output. In addition, there was no way 
of knowing when the contractor with a 
high priority proposed to use the ordered 
material in production. 

It will be recalled that in his letter of 15 
May to Mr. Nelson, General Somervell 
had spoken of "inadequate control over 
the supply of critical materials," and the 
report he had transmitted had mentioned 
various weaknesses in the existing prac- 
tices. 4 But Somervell had not proposed a 
specific means of improving materials con- 
trols. These were already being discussed 
by the representatives of the two agencies. 
Two issues were involved. One had to do 
with a revision in the preference rating, or 
priorities, system. The other had to do 
with the introduction of a whole new sys- 
tem for controlling the distribution of 

Revision of the Priorities System 

As early as 21 February 1942 the Army 
and Navy Munitions Board, which theo- 

retically at least was charged with assign- 
ing military priorities, requested the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff to issue a revised priorities 
directive. 5 Other agencies also pressed for 
a change. In the meantime the military 
procurement officers continued to meet 
the problem by reshuffling priorities. For 
example, on 1 1 March 1942, General 
Somervell asked for assignment of priori- 
ties within the ASF, seeking first priority 
for about half the Army Supply Program. 6 
Meanwhile various committees of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff 7 studied the relative 
urgency of military procurement pro- 
grams; their suggested amendments were 
presented to the JCS early in April 1942. 8 
The Joint Chiefs accepted these recom- 
mendations and submitted them to Presi- 
dent Roosevelt. 9 

The President concurred, particularly 
approving the emphasis given to three 
classes of equipment: aircraft and related 
items, shipping, and equipment for a de- 
cisive land and air offensive. The Presi- 
dent directed the JCS to ask the ANMB 
to establish priorities within the services, 10 
and wrote Donald Nelson a letter in which 
he enclosed his memorandum to the mili- 
tary chiefs. The President expressed his as - 
surance that the WPB would assist the 
ANMB in this revision and would approve 

1 See above. |p. 1941 

5 Memo, ANMB for CCS (American Sec), 21 Feb 
42, sub: Resume of Priorities Situation and Request 
for Revised Dir, CCS 400. 17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

6 Memo, Secy JB for JPC, 26 Mar 42, sub: Priorities 
for Equip, w/incl, CCS 400.17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

7 JPS 20 (2d draft), 31 Mar 42, sub: Priorities in 
Production of Munitions Based on Strategic Con- 
siderations, CCS 400.17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

8 Min, 10th Mtg, JPS, 4 Apr 42, Item 3, CCS 
400.17 (2-20-42). 

9 Memo, JCS to President, 10 Apr 42, CCS 400.17 
(2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

10 Memo, President for JCS, 1 May 42, sub: 
Recommendations to JCS for Priority of Production 
of War Munitions, CCS 400. 17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 



the necessary changes without delay. 11 On 
6 May the Joint Chiefs forwarded their 
approved proposal to the ANMB and re- 
quested the board to prepare new priori- 
ties which would insure production of the 
most urgent Army and Navy needs during 
the balance of 1942. 12 

Mr. Eberstadt, chairman of the ANMB, 
had been pressing for this kind of action 
since January 1942. In addition, he 
wished to reform the priorities system by 
adopting new, simplified designations, and 
by limiting the quantities of end-items for 
which these ratings would be used to ob- 
tain raw materials. The Army and Navy 
Munitions Board submitted a proposed 
priorities directive to Mr. Nelson on 20 
May. It recommended five new preference 
ratings. These were AA-1 to AA-4, with 
an emergency classification of AAA. Sec- 
ond, it proposed that the quantities of end- 
items of military equipment to be assigned 
these priority ratings should be definitely 
limited. For example, the AA-1 prefer- 
ence ratings were to be issued for 60,000 
war planes, the Presidential objective, to- 
gether with critical and essential items of 
the Army Supply Program necessary to 
equip these planes. For the Army, the 
AA-1 rating was to be used for 50 percent 
of the major items in the revised Presiden- 
tial objective for the Ground Forces in 
1942. This meant 50 percent, for example, 
of some 25,000 tanks, 10,000 pieces of 
heavy artillery, 25,000 antitank weapons, 
and 9,000 armored cars. Also the top rat- 
ing was to be used for 50 percent of the 
Maritime Commission's ship construction 
program of nine million dead-weight tons, 
and for naval vessels which could be com- 
missioned by 1 March 1943. The AA-2 
rating was to be assigned to the remaining 
items of the 1942 procurement program as 
approved by the President and to naval 

vessels which could be commissioned be- 
tween 1 April and 31 December 1943. 
The AA-3 category was to be used for air- 
craft equipment needed in 1942 to meet 
the 1943 objectives and to the Army Sup- 
ply Program on the same basis. 13 The 
ANMB memorandum made no estimate 
of the raw material requirements needed 
to fulfill the program. It did recommend 
that no priorities be granted for civilian 
supplies which would compete with the 
military program, unless the ANMB 

The War Production Board received the 
proposal with considerable hostility. As 
with other suggestions of a similar nature, 
some WPB officials interpreted this as a 
move by the military to take over control 
of the economy. On more technical 
grounds, they also feared that the new pri- 
ority system would interfere with the Pro- 
duction Requirements Plan which was 
based on the spread of the old priorities 
ratings. Because of these factors the WPB 
delayed approval. 14 On 30 May 1942 Mr. 
Eberstadt reported to the Under Secre- 
taries of War and the Navy about a meet- 
ing which had been held that day in Mr. 
Nelson's office. The Statistical Division of 
WPB had made some preliminary calcu- 
lations about dollar amounts of produc- 
tion required by the proposal and also 
about raw material requirements. In gen- 
eral, the raw material requirements for 
the program were within available sup- 
plies except possibly for aluminum. Mr. 

11 Memo, President for D. M. Nelson, 1 May 42, 
CCS 400.17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

12 Memo, JCS for ANMB, 6 May 42, sub: Priorities 
in Production of Munitions Based on Strategic Con- 
siderations, CCS 400. 17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1 . 

13 Memo, ANMB for Chm WPB, 20 May 42, Hq 

14 Min, 39th Mtg, Planning Com, WPB, 9 Jun 42, 
p. 62. 



Eberstadt agreed that some effort should 
be made to set up preference ratings for 
essential civilian supplies and certain 
foreign raw material commitments which 
were not included within the proposal. 15 

Mr. Nelson was inclined to accept the 
new priorities system over the objections 
of his staff. After all, the proposed proce- 
dure had the tremendous advantage of 
setting quantitative limits by time periods 
in the assignment of preference ratings to 
essential needs. Some of the unbalanced 
production of the past might thereby be 
avoided. The new system also provided 
for a workable relationship between the 
War Production Board and the Army 
Service Forces. The WPB would approve 
the over-all arrangement, and military 
procurement offices would assign specific 
ratings to individual contractors within 
the limits of this approval. The WPB 
would then police the assignment of rat- 
ings. Mr. Nelson discussed the proposed 
directive with the President and secured 
his approval of the recommendation that 
essential civilian needs should get higher 
priorities. 16 Then on 9 June, Nelson ac- 
cepted the new priorities directive with 
certain modifications which added addi- 
tional merchant shipping and some 1942 
production for 1943 end-items. The Joint 
Chiefs of Staff accepted the modifications 
on 12 June. 17 

Although the directive was approved, 
the controversy over the magnitude of 
civilian production continued unabated. 
The provision that the War Production 
Board had to obtain the concurrence of 
the AN MB for preference ratings for 
civilian programs was obnoxious to the 
WPB. Mr. Nelson told his assistants that 
the maintenance of the civilian economy 
was their responsibility. They were to con- 
sult the AN MB, but if they failed to get 

concurrence they were to assign the rating 
regardless. The ANMB could then take its 
appeals to him. 18 

Early in July the Under Secretaries of 
the War and Navy Departments, and 
Chairman Eberstadt protested that the 
production goals set forth in the directive 
would be hampered by failing to allocate 
raw materials to programs in the stated 
order of preference. Accordingly, they 
urged that no additional ratings within 
the primary categories should be issued 
without the concurrence of the Army and 
Navy Munitions Board. The memoran- 
dum recognized that "maintenance of a 
sound economic basis for continuance of 
the war effort necessitated provision for 
certain essential services and materials 
within the framework of the priorities di- 
rective." It argued that such essential re- 
quirements, however, should not be 
provided at the expense of the munitions 
requirements included in the AA-1 and 
AA-2 categories. The ANMB members 
asked assurance that no items other than 
end-items of munitions would be included 
in AA-1 or put ahead of the AA-3 and 
AA-4 items without Army and Navy ap- 
proval "excepting only such as may be 
specifically directed by you." 19 The 
ANMB also appealed to the JCS, claim- 
ing that Mr. Nelson's action would preju- 
dice the "principle and intent" of the 

15 Memo, ANMB for USW and USN, 30 May 42, 
sub: ANMB Priorities Dir, Hq ASF, WPB. 

16 Min, 39th Mtg, WPB, 9 Jun 42, p. 62. 

17 ANMB, 12 Jun 42, sub: Priorities in Production 
of Munitions Based on Strategic Considerations, CCS 
400.17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

18 Memo, D. M. Nelson to Batt,J. S. Knowlson, 
Henderson, Weiner and Matthiessen, 19 Jun 42, sub: 
Effect of Rerated Military Program on Work of the 
WPB, CCS 400.1 7 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

19 Memo, ANMB for Chm WPB, 5 Jul 42, sub: 
Priorities and Allocations, Hq ASF, WPB. 



President's directive. 20 At the same time, 
the Under Secretaries also tried to impress 
their point of view directly upon members 
of the War Production Board. In Septem- 
ber 1942 the ANMB informed the JCS 
that the conflict over concurrences had 
been adjusted. Thereupon the JCS 
dropped the issue from its agenda, and the 
WPB added a new preference rating — 
AA-2X for urgent domestic and foreign 
nonmilitary items. 21 Eventually, still 
higher priorities were given to various 
nonmilitary needs, including use of the 
AA-1 rating. General Somervell and lead- 
ing members of his staff often challenged 
the magnitude of essential civilian re- 
quirements as recommended by WPB 
committees, but there is no indication that 
they ever took the position that civilian 
requirements finally determined to be 
essential should not have a high rating. 

The revised priorities directive covered 
only vital war production for the last six 
months of 1942. Subsequently, the same 
type of arrangement was continued for 
1943 and 1944 production. The WPB 
charged that the ASF and other military 
procurement agencies failed to observe 
strictly the quantitative limits in assigning 
preference ratings. The difficulty seemed 
to grow out of a desire for flexibility in 
setting anticipated military production re- 
quirements, as well as from the complexity 
of calculating needs in precise detail. Mr. 
Nelson, dissatisfied with the way the serv- 
ices were handling their priorities function 
and perhaps goaded by charges within his 
own agency of "surrender" to the military, 
informed the Under Secretaries of War 
.and the Navy on 22 August 1942 that the 
WPB would "immediately undertake 
supervision over functions now exercised 
by contracting and procurement officers 
of the Armed Services with relation to the 
issuance of priority orders and certifi- 

cates." 22 He asserted that a control sys- 
tem "which must often restrict parts of the 
program for the benefit of the whole," 
could not be supervised effectively through 
field officers "whose primary function is 
expediting the particular parts of the pro- 
gram entrusted to them." Therefore, he 
requested the co-operation of the Army 
and Navy in assigning military personnel 
to the WPB district offices "to advise" on 
the issuance of preference ratings. The 
district offices (under the regional offices) 
would receive proposed priority orders 
and certificates prepared and forwarded 
by military procurement officers. The 
WPB would actually issue rating and cer- 
tificate. Nelson promised this would be 
done within twenty-four hours. He ended 
by saying that he had issued orders to put 
the new arrangement into effect on 7 

The announcement of this basic change 
without prior consultation, coupled with 
the fear in military circles that the WPB 
desired to take over Army procurement, 
threatened to produce a direct clash. For- 
tunately, this was avoided in part by the 
action of Mr. Eberstadt, who immediately 
began negotiations with WPB officials. 
Then on 27 August 1942 the armed serv- 
ices assured Nelson of their desire to co- 
operate "in every way" in realizing his 
objective, but countered with a suggested 
modification. 23 Their representatives com- 
mented that they were certain Mr. Nelson 

20 Memo, ANMB for JCS, 19 Jul 42, sub: WPB- 
ANMB Conflict with respect to Concurrences, CCS 
400.17 (2-20-42) Sec. 1. 

21 Memo, ANMB for JCS, 23 Sep 42, sub: WPB- 
ANMB Conflict with respect to Concurrences, CCS 
400. 1 7 (2-20-42) Sec. 1 ; Industrial Mobilization for War, 
pp. 298-301. 

22 Ltr, D. M. Nelson to Patterson, Forrestal, and 
Eberstadt, 22 Aug 42, Hq ASF, WPB. 

23 Ltr, Patterson, Vice Adm Samuel M. Robinson, 
and Eberstadt to D. M. Nelson, 27 Aug 42, Hq ASF, 



realized the importance of effecting a 
major change in priority procedure with 
a minimum of disturbance to production. 
The limited time available to prepare for 
"so radical a change" worried them. Ac- 
cordingly, the services proposed that the 
WPB should assign its own personnel to 
Army and Navy procurement offices to 
approve their issuance of preference rat- 
ings. Nelson accepted the counterproposal. 
The Army and Navy were satisfied with 
this because it preserved, untouched, their 
direct relationship with contractors, and 
the new method of supervising military is- 
suance of preference ratings became effec- 
tive 10 September 1942. It remained in 
effect throughout most of the war. The ar- 
rangement not only solved the priority 
issue but worked well, and even provided 
a mutual protection to the Army and 
Navy against the other's failing to carry 
out priorities agreements. 

Allocating Raw Materials 

The problem of directing the distribu- 
tion of raw materials was still unresolved. 
Although the relative importance of mili- 
tary items was now indicated, this alone 
was not sufficient to insure that raw ma- 
terials would go primarily to essential 
production. One group within the Office 
of Production Management had devel- 
oped a scheme whereby certain industries 
might voluntarily submit estimates of their 
raw materials demands for desired pro- 
duction programs. At first this Production 
Requirements Plan was used almost ex- 
clusively by industries producing nonmili- 
tary items. From the point of view of the 
industry, the arrangement was advan- 
tageous because it presented requirements 
for a number of different metals needed to 
meet production schedules. OPM liked 
the arrangement because it not only re- 

lated raw material needs to production 
plans but also revealed inventories on 

As dissatisfaction with existing methods 
of allocating raw materials grew, both 
within the War Production Board and the 
armed services, WPB began to consider 
the possibility of applying the PRP to all 
American industry. On 4 March 1942 the 
director of industry operations in WPB 
formally proposed to Mr. Nelson that 
PRP become a mandatory system, cover- 
ing an estimated 18,000 of the largest con- 
sumers of raw materials who accounted for 
over 90 percent of the basic materials fab- 
ricated in the country. 24 The plan would 
become general on 1 July 1942. 

The story of PRP has been adequately 
told elsewhere, 25 but the reaction of the 
armed services to it is pertinent here. On 
13 May Mr. Nelson informed Under Sec- 
retaries Patterson and Forrestal and 
Chairman Eberstadt that the WPB had 
decided to apply the Production Require- 
ments Plan to all American manufac- 
turers, including those who produced 
end-items of munitions. The members of 
the ANMB replied on 20 May that they 
were concerned about the possible conse- 
quence of such "precipitate adoption" of 
PRP and expressed the hope that "no 
such action will be taken without further 
and more thorough consideration of this 
matter." They pointed out that there was 
still no agreement on a plan for the most 
effective distribution of available raw ma- 
terials. Patterson, Forrestal, and Eberstadt 
recommended that a committee be ap- 
pointed whose members would be relieved 
of all duties save that of attempting to find 

24 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 459. 

25 Ibid., pp. 457-74. See also David Novick, Melvin 
L. Anshen, and William C. Truppner, Wartime Pro- 
duction Controls (New York, Columbia University 
Press, 1949). 



a satisfactory solution to the materials 
distribution problem. 26 

Mr. Nelson had already created a WPB 
committee to consider raw materials con- 
trols. There was no direct military repre- 
sentation on this committee and Nelson 
was not disposed to change its composi- 
tion. In the meantime Army and Navy 
personnel continued their exploration of 
the mechanics of the proposed plan. On 
28 May Mr. Eberstadt submitted to Pat- 
terson and Forrestal a memorandum set- 
ting forth his views about PRP, views, he 
said, which were shared by the principal 
Army and Navy representatives working 
with him. He admitted that PRP would 
produce substantial additional informa- 
tion about production requirements for 
raw materials as well as much needed data 
on inventory positions, but he held that it 
would provide only general information 
about the ultimate destination of raw ma- 
terials. While recognizing that there would 
be some advantages from the system, Mr. 
Eberstadt expressed the strong opinion 
that the administration of PRP would be 
an impossible task. Also he insisted that 
the contemplated allocations process 
would still not insure distribution of raw 
materials to the desired military end-items 
of production. In conclusion he suggested 
that the effective date of the plan be post- 
poned and that further efforts be made to 
find an acceptable modification or substi- 
tute. Under Secretaries Patterson and 
Forrestal forwarded Eberstadt's memo- 
randum to Nelson with the laconic nota- 
tion: "We concur." 27 

In spite of these protests the WPB an- 
nounced on 30 May that PRP would be 
introduced on a compulsory basis. On 8 
June 1942 Mr. Eberstadt assured Mr. J. S. 
Knowlson, WPB director of industry op- 
erations, that under the circumstances the 

Army and Navy would do their best to see 
that "no harm resulted" from the intro- 
duction of PRP. 28 During the next month 
Army and Navy officers worked closely 
with WPB officials in an attempt to make 
the plan effective. But PRP failed. Though 
it was clearly evident that the Army and 
Navy were opposed to the arrangement, 
no charge was made within the WPB that 
the hostility of the Army and the Navy 
was a major factor in bringing about its 
collapse. There may indeed have been 
some justice in Mr. Knowlson's view that 
PRP "apparently failed" more because 
the problem of total military procurement 
requirements had not been solved than 
because of inherent defects. The PRP 
might have been more successful also if 
there had been more time to put it into 
operation, and if there had been more 
thorough administrative preparation. 
Whatever the actual reason for the failure, 
military authorities had forecast these 
difficulties rightly enough. 

Army and Navy representatives con- 
tinued to urge a different procedure. On 
1 June 1942 Mr. Eberstadt created an 
Allocations Steering Committee with per- 
sonnel drawn out of the ASF, the Navy, 
the AAF, and the Maritime Commission. 
Members of this committee were directed 
to work with WPB personnel in exploring 
further the problems of materials control. 
As early as 8 May 1942 Mr. Eberstadt, 
with a representative from the ASF and 
one from the Navy Office of Procurement 
and Material, had explained a so-called 
warrant plan to a WPB committee. This 

26 Ltr, Patterson, Forrestal, and Eberstadt to D. M. 
Nelson, 20 May 42, Hq ASF, ANMB. 

27 Memo, Patterson and Forrestal for Chm WPB, 
28 May 42, sub: PRP, Hq ASF, WPB. 

2S Memo, Eberstadt for USW and USN, 8 Jun 42, 
sub: Discussion with Knowlson — Revised Priorities 
Dir and PRP, CG ASF. 



plan was further elaborated in other 
papers which were presented to the War 
Production Board. For the moment there 
was no immediate disposition within the 
WPB to accept the War Department pro- 
posal. The failure of PRP, amid general 
industrial criticism, brought the warrant 
plan once more to the fore. Large auto- 
mobile corporations like General Motors, 
as well as the steel industry, favored an 
arrangement similar to that urged by the 
Army and the Navy. Mr. Ernest Kanzler, 
who became WPB Director General of 
Operations early in September 1942, was 
further inclined toward the warrant sys- 
tem. Mr. Eberstadt and Mr. Kanzler 
together made substantial progress in pre- 
paring a new system for controlling ma- 
terials. Then on 20 September 1942 Nelson 
announced the appointment of Mr. Eber- 
stadt as a vice-chairman of the WPB in 
charge of program determination. At the 
same time, Nelson gave Eberstadt unoffi- 
cial assurance that he would be free to 
introduce a new system of materials con- 

With Mr. Eberstadt's appointment, an 
extensive internal reorganization of the 
WPB was begun, and detailed planning 
was started on a new system for controlling 
materials. On 2 November the WPB pub- 
licly announced the adoption of a Con- 
trolled Materials Plan (CMP), to become 
fully effective on 1 July 1943 and applying 
primarily to the allocation of steel, copper, 
and aluminum. 29 There was a basic differ- 
ence between the Production Require- 
ments Plan and the Controlled Materials 
Plan which it is essential to observe. The 
two systems were sometimes contrasted as 
"horizontal" as against "vertical" alloca- 
tion of raw materials. These terms in 
themselves do not convey a full under- 
standing of Army dissatisfaction with the 

first and preference for the second. Under 
a system of horizontal allocation, as in 
PRP, every important manufacturing 
concern in the United States was expected 
individually to indicate its production 
schedules by quarter, its corresponding 
needs for major shapes and forms of basic 
metals, and its raw material inventories. 
The War Production Board would then 
receive all of these estimates, consolidate 
them, compare raw material needs with 
supplies, and inform each individual com- 
pany of the quantities of materials which 
it might obtain in a succeeding quarter. 
Under the vertical allocation scheme, as 
in CMP, raw material requirements 
were presented to the WPB, not by in- 
dividual industries, but by so-called major 
claimants. These were the ASF, the 
Navy, the AAF, the Maritime Commis- 
sion, and the civilian economy. The WPB 
was responsible through its industry divi- 
sions for determining essential civilian 
production requirements. The War Pro- 
duction Board then adjusted demands to 
supply, and informed claimant agencies of 
the total quantity of various metals which 
each might consume in a given quarter of 
a year. The claimant agencies in turn 
apportioned their allocations to various 
industries which placed their orders ac- 
cordingly with raw material suppliers. 30 
Interestingly enough, in one respect the 
horizontal and vertical systems of alloca- 
tions had a common meeting ground. 
There were certain kinds of industrial 

For a history of the CMP, see Industrial Mobiliza- 
tion for War, pp. 485-501; also, Min, WPB, 27 Oct 42, 
p. 147. 

30 Min, 54th Mtg, Planning Com, WPB, 3 Sep 42, 
pp. 88-89; Planning Com Recommendation 17 for 
D. M. Nelson, 5 Sep 42, sub: Contl of the Flow of Ma- 
terials, WPB Doc Pub 5, Appen. X, p. 158. The WPB, 
as well as the Army, had come to prefer the vertical 
CMP system. 



products which might be used as compo- 
nent parts or subassemblies of many differ- 
ent items. These products were sometimes 
called off-the-shelf items, or general indus- 
trial supplies. Under the PRP horizontal 
allocation system, the manufacturers 
would obtain raw material rights directly 
for such products. Under the CMP verti- 
cal allocation, the manufacturer of general 
industrial supplies would have to depend 
upon an eventual "trickling down" of 
many separate allotments of raw materials 
from every end-product manufacturer who 
needed his parts. The Controlled Mate- 
rials Plan recognized this absurdity in 
vertical allocation and set up a special 
category of Class B products. These in- 
cluded such items as bearings, batteries, 
nuts and screws, steam condensers, con- 
tainers, electric generators, electric motors, 
mining machinery, plumbing supplies, 
pumps, spark plugs, valves, and trans- 
formers. Under CMP, manufacturers of 
Class B products received direct allotments 
of raw materials from the War Production 

The essential difference between hori- 
zontal allocation and vertical allocation 
was this. Under horizontal allocation, the 
WPB received individual applications for 
raw materials from 18,000 or more sepa- 
rate industrial establishments. This im- 
posed a terrific operating burden upon a 
central agency. The WPB could sarcely 
have acted as a top control agency con- 
cerned with broad issues of production 
balance. It would have been submerged 
under literally thousands of operating 
details. Vertical allocation, on the other 
hand, worked differently. The WPB re- 
ceived its estimates of need from relatively 
few agencies, and each of these in turn 
proceeded through successive organiza- 
tional levels to divide up the job of deter- 

mining raw material requirements and 
controlling the distribution of raw mate- 
rials. Vertical allocation also preserved 
intact an intimate association between a 
military procurement office and its prime 
contractor. No third party with any au- 
thority to give separate instructions inter- 
vened in this relationship. Horizontal 
allocation meant that the military pro- 
curement office might let a contract and 
agree with the contractor upon delivery 
schedules, but the contractor then had to 
go to another government agency in order 
to obtain the raw materials needed to ful- 
fill his contract. Under it, the possibility 
that the contractor would receive conflict- 
ing instructions was real. No one in the 
Army Service Forces ever maintained that 
the Army should have an unlimited 
amount of raw materials. What the ASF 
did say was: "Tell us how much steel, and 
copper, and aluminum we may have, and 
we will then divide it in balanced propor- 
tions among our supply programs and 
inform our contractors what they can have 
and what they should plan to produce." 
The ASF was satisfied when a method for 
controlling the distribution of raw mate- 
rials had been devised which preserved 
this fundamental relationship between 
procurement office and contractor. 

On 8 July 1942 Mr. Nelson announced 
a "realignment" of internal WPB organi- 
zation which, among other things, was to 
clear "the decks to make controlling and 
expediting the flow of materials the board's 
central effort." 31 All industry divisions 
were brought under single direction within 
the WPB. But the ASF request for formal 
recognition of a working relationship with 
these industry divisions was rejected. On 
10 November 1942, after Mr. Eberstadt 

31 WPB press release (WPB- 1494), 8 Jul 42, Na- 
tional Archives, WPB papers. 



had become a WPB vice-chairman, Mr. 
Nelson approved organizational changes 
which did two principal things. The Direc- 
tor General for Operations in charge of 
industry divisions was put under the Pro- 
gram Vice-Chairman (Mr. Eberstadt), 
and each industry division was directed to 
form a division requirements committee 
on which there was to be an Army and a 
Navy representative along with represen- 
tatives of other agencies such as the Mari- 
time Commission and the Board of 
Economic Warfare. 32 This officially recog- 
nized an existing situation, for Army and 
Navy personnel, in the name of the 
ANMB, had been physically located in 
WPB offices for a long time. The job of 
these Army officers, who were a part of the 
Production Division in ASF headquarters, 
was to keep in touch with the production 
situation in various industries and to in- 
form the industry divisions of ASF military 
requirements. The Army representatives 
helped the WPB in fixing production poli- 
cies, and the WPB in turn helped the ASF 
greatly in improving its requirements data 
and in following industrial conditions. At 
this working level, ASF-WPB relations 
were cordial and co-operative throughout 
the war. 

The November WPB reorganization 
realized two major ends which General 
Somervell had in mind when he gave his 
"black book" to Mr. Nelson for considera- 
tion on 1 5 May. The internal organization 
of WPB was now fully oriented to make 
the distribution of raw materials its major 
task, and ASF participation had been offi- 
cially recognized at various working levels 
within WPB. 

By the end of 1942 there was every indi- 
cation that economic mobilization for vital 
military needs would go forward unim- 
peded. But such was not to be the case. 

The Army- WPB controversy flared up 
anew with a bitterness more intense than 
ever when on 16 February 1943 Mr. Eber- 
stadt was summarily dismissed from the 
WPB by Mr. Nelson. This, in the words of 
columnist David Lawrence, was a "solar 
plexus blow to the Army and Navy." 33 
The story is told in Mr. Nelson's memoirs 
and in the official WPB history. 34 Nelson 
says that he learned suddenly one night 
that the Army was determined to have 
him fired the next day. He does not iden- 
tify his personal antagonist or antagonists 
in the War Department. He notes that 
Secretary Stimson recommended this ac- 
tion to the President, but acknowledges 
that the Secretary of War had to take 
responsibility for such recommendation, 
regardless of who may have instigated it. 
The WPB history more carefully reports 
that an internal WPB jurisdictional con- 
flict between Eberstadt and Mr. Charles 
E. Wilson had reached the point where 
James F. Byrnes, then director of the Office 
of Economic Stabilization, joined by the 
Secretaries of War and the Navy, recom- 
mended Mr. Nelson's removal to President 
Roosevelt. Mr. Baruch was to be ap- 
pointed in Nelson's place. 35 

General Somervell was at the Casa- 
blanca Conference in January 1943 and 
had no direct part in this effort to replace 
Nelson with Baruch. But months earlier 
in the midst of another dispute, when he 
had charged Nelson with trying to take 
away Army and Navy control over war 
material, Somervell had suggested to 
President Roosevelt's chief of staff, Ad- 
miral William D. Leahy, that Nelson 

32 WPB Gen Adm O 2-65, 1 1 Nov 42. 

3,1 The Evening Star (Washington) February 17, 1943. 

34 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, pp. 388-89; 
Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 580-82. 

35 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 581. 



should be replaced by Bernard Baruch. 36 
In any event, Nelson dismissed Mr. 
Eberstadt and so preserved his position for 
the time being. Mr. Wilson then emerged 
as the active head of WPB. He immedi- 
ately informed General Clay, Somervell's 
procurement deputy, and later General 
Somervell, that he contemplated no 
change in the Controlled Materials Plan 
or in existing ASF-WPB relationships. 
This was adequate reassurance, and there 
was no reason for Somervell to concern 
himself further with the matter. ASF offi- 
cials found Mr. Wilson increasingly satis- 
factory to work with; relationships were 
cordial and effective. 

During 1942 there were vigorous discus- 

sions between Army and WPB officials 
about desirable procedure for the control 
of raw materials. Once the Controlled 
Materials Plan had been devised and ac- 
cepted, previous disagreements subsided. 
CMP continued to give the WPB effective 
control over the supply and distribution of 
raw materials. This was as the ASF 
wished. General Somervell had never 
quarreled with WPB authority but con- 
stantly urged effective action. Throughout 
1943, 1944, and 1945, there were no more 
serious disagreements about raw material 
procedures. A satisfactory working ar- 
rangement had finally been found. 

36 William D. Leahy, / Was There (New York, Whit- 
tlesey House, 1950), p. 130. 


The ASF and the WPB: 
The Control of Production 

From the very beginning of the defense 
effort in the summer of 1940, the Army 
and the Navy were asked time and again 
to lay out in advance a fairly detailed pro- 
gram of production goals for military 
equipment and supplies. This was at- 
tempted with varying results insofar as 
degree of detail was concerned. Compre- 
hensive procurement planning involved 
two major difficulties for the Army's sup- 
ply arms and services. In the first place, 
there were no well-developed procedures 
or basic data for translating general mili- 
tary plans into specific quantities of weap- 
ons. In the second place, strategic plans, 
together with lend-lease needs, were con- 
stantly changing so that production goals 
determined at any one time were inade- 
quate a month or two later. 

In 1941 the Office of Production Man- 
agement, with President Roosevelt's ap- 
proval, began to develop tentative 
programs listing specific defense require- 
ments. In the process it increased its 
pressure on the armed forces to prepare 
better information on production goals by 
time periods. It also urged the services to 
set higher goals so that all possible con- 
tingencies might be covered. Immediately 
after the 1942 fiscal year appropriations 
for the War Department had been passed 
on 30 June 1941, the President gave in- 

structions for the OPM and the War De- 
partment to prepare a requirements 
program calculated to defeat the enemy 
in case the United States was attacked. 
On the basis of a Joint Board (Army- 
Navy) estimate of military objectives, the 
War Department revised its manpower 
program, and this in turn increased the 
requirements for various kinds of equip- 
ment. The War Department General Staff 
also enlarged the contemplated reserve of 
critical weapons, especially tanks and 
guns. This program was known as the 
Victory Program. 1 

When General Somervell took office as 
assistant chief of staff, G-4, WDGS, he 
immediately became interested in improv- 
ing Army procurement planning. The 
goal was an Army Supply Program which 
would set forth desired quantities for some 
1,000 major items; requirements for such 
classes of supplies as food stuffs would be 
estimated in dollar volume. No such Army 
supply program existed before he took 
over as G-4 in December 1941, although 
preparatory steps had been taken. The 
first section of the Army Supply Program 
setting forth procurement goals for ground 
equipment for the calendar years 1942, 

1 See History of the Determination of Supply Re- 
quirements, prepared by the Requirements Div, ASF, 



1943, and the first six months of 1944, ap- 
peared in April 1942, just a month after 
the ASF was created. In July 1942 the 
Army Supply Program became the official 
authorization enabling the technical serv- 
ices of the ASF to purchase the quantities 
of items set forth in the program. In addi- 
tion, the Army Supply Program became a 
primary document in determining the 
budget needs of the Army. 2 

On Christmas Eve, 1941, Mr. Stacy 
May of the WPB urged General Somer- 
vell to raise Army requirements. Two 
months later, in February 1942, when a 
tentative supply program was calculated, 
the Supply Division of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff recognized that the 
quantities desired were too large for 
reasonable expectation. It had tentatively 
projected production goals totaling sixty- 
three billion dollars for ground equipment 
through the end of 1943. When the esti- 
mates for the Army Supply Program were 
completed in April 1942, the goal was re- 
duced to about forty-three billion dollars. 
Another revision in May brought the pro- 
curement objective in ground equipment 
through December 1943 down to thirty- 
eight billion dollars. 3 

While Mr. Eberstadt was proposing a 
revised priorities directive, Mr. Stacy May 
as chief statistician of the WPB suggested 
that the procurement goals of the armed 
forces had become too large — in fact, 
larger than could be produced by the 
American economy. Whether true or not, 
the argument was not fully explored at the 
time. During the summer the planning 
committee of the War Production Board 
gave particular attention to the problem 
of the "feasibility" of military production 
goals. Instead of pushing the Army to 
adopt requirements large enough to pro- 
vide a cushion for any contingency, as 

May had done in December 1941, the 
prime consideration of the WPB had now 
become the limiting of the ASF to "feasi- 
ble" requirements. This concept of "feasi- 
bility" was a new approach to production 
goals. It ran contrary to the widely ac- 
cepted notion of setting high goals as in- 
centives — "something to shoot for." Under 
prewar conditions of ample raw mate- 
rials, manpower, and plant facilities, a 
doctrine of "feasibility" would have been 
unthinkable. Many practical men both in 
and out of the Army believed that even 
under war conditions "feasibility" was 
simply a high sounding theory. 

The proponents of the "feasibility" con- 
cept argued that overambitious procure- 
ment programs would result in great 
waste. For example, if a manufacturer was 
able almost to finish 100,000 trucks but 
could not get tires, carburetors, or other 
components, because higher-priority air- 
craft producers had obtained all these 
items, the almost finished but still useless 
trucks would be a wasteful drain on our 
economic resources. In the same way, in- 
dustrial facilities might be constructed, 
but because of the scarcity of machine 
tools or raw materials they might never 
get into production. Procurement de- 
mands in excess of production capacity 
would result in unbalanced output, con- 
fusion, and chaos. 

The War Production Board's method of 
measuring feasibility was based upon two 
different approaches. One was to calculate 
the supply and demand of certain limiting 
factors such as a particular raw material 
like copper, available industrial facilities, 
or labor force. A shortage in supply of any 
of these would cause the whole production 
effort to bog down. The second method 

2 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1943, p. 16. 

3 Ibid,, pp. 18-19. 



was that of employing a statistical tech- 
nique based upon the concept of the po- 
tential gross national product. The 
economists and statisticians of the WPB 
planning committee began to estimate the 
production potential of America's indus- 
try by studying both single, basic, limiting 
factors and the potential gross national 
product. They had to consider not only 
military requirements but also those goods 
required to sustain the American econ- 

A determination of feasible military 
procurement depended also upon how 
goods were to be divided between military 
and civilian demands. It was generally 
assumed that the smaller the share the 
civilian population received, the larger 
would be the share of the military. Yet this 
was an involved issue fraught with politi- 
cal, social, and economic considerations. 
For example, one of the many compli- 
cated questions to consider was just how 
far civilian transportation or housing or 
food supplies might be cut before over-all 
production would suffer. At the beginning 
of 1942 war supplies consumed about 27 
percent of the national output. Many 
economists believed that not more than 45 
to 50 percent of the total production could 
be devoted to war purposes. 

In July 1942 the WPB planning com- 
mittee estimated that war production ob- 
jectives for the calendar year of 1942 
would total fifty-five billion dollars, while 
on the basis of past production rates and 
reasonably expected increases, military 
production would in fact be only forty-five 
to forty-seven billion dollars. This would 
leave a deficit of eight to ten billion dol- 
lars. Similarly, in 1943 military require- 
ments totaled 87.4 billion dollars (soon 
raised to 92 billion dollars) against "feasi- 
bility" estimates of 75 to 80 billion dollars. 

To the accumulated deficit of 1942 and 
1943, nonmunition expenditures for food 
and military pay would have to be added. 
To cover all these items, total war expen- 
ditures for 1943 would have to reach 
about 1 15 billion dollars, or 75 percent of 
the estimated gross national product. 4 

On 8 August 1942 Mr. Nelson informed 
the members of the ANMB that he was 
convinced that the total military procure- 
ment objectives for 1942 and 1943 were 
beyond attainment. He did no more, how- 
ever, than express a hope for downward 
adjustment. On 8 September 1942, at the 
suggestion of Nelson, Mr. Robert R. 
Nathan, chairman of the WPB planning 
committee, sent a memorandum to Vice 
Adm. Samuel M. Robinson, Mr. Harry 
Hopkins, and General Somervell, asking 
them to review the latest analysis pre- 
pared by the committee's chief statistician, 
Mr. Simon Kuznets. The analysis was a 
long and detailed document setting forth 
the figures which have already been men- 
tioned and pointing out that production 
goals substantially exceeded production 
capacities. But the WPB memorandum 
did not confine itself to recommending "a 
more feasible set of production goals." It 
also recommended a more careful system 
of production scheduling. 

The document declared that with 
proper production scheduling and control 
the production program could proceed in 
balance. In a balanced program, where 
one part of the production effort did not 
absorb more than its share of resources at 
the expense of another, excessive produc- 
tion goals would not be harmful and 
might in fact prove a stimulus to greater 
production. But in the absence of ade- 
quate machinery for scheduling produc- 

* Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 275-85. 



tion, it was important to set feasible limits 
to military output. 

To General Somervell, however, the 
Kuznets' recommendation that was most 
objectionable had little to do with produc- 
tion scheduling or "feasibility." This was 
a proposal for relating war production ob- 
jectives, strategic factors, and social policy 
considerations through a "supreme war 
production council." This "supreme" 
council was to be made up of individuals 
responsible for military strategy, produc- 
tion strategy, and social or political 
strategy. The report implied that in deal- 
ing with Somervell, the WPB was not re- 
ceiving adequate guidance or broad 
strategic factors affecting military pro- 

General Somervell personally wrote out 
a sharp reply in longhand. It was typed 
and dispatched on 12 September with a 
carbon copy for Mr. Nelson. In his memo- 
randum Somervell mentioned that Mr. 
Kuznets admitted that his data might be 
"unreliable." He expressed the opinion 
that procurement goals 10 to 20 percent 
higher than "feasibility" estimates scarcely 
seemed large enough to justify any whole- 
sale change in production goals. He noted 
that only a few months before, WPB sta- 
tisticians had been urging "this office" to 
increase military requirements. As for the 
proposed "supreme war production coun- 
cil," Somervell characterized the whole 
plan as "an inchoate mass of words." He 
added that in determining military and 
production strategy he much preferred the 
decisions of the President, Mr. Nelson, 
and existing military personnel to some 
board of "economists and statisticians." 
General Somervell ended up with an often 
quoted sentence: "I am not impressed 
with either the character or basis of the 
judgments expressed in the report and 

recommend that they be carefully hidden 
from the eyes of thoughtful men." 5 

Mr. Kuznets was an eminent statisti- 
cian, recognized in his profession as an 
authority on national income figures. He 
had confidence in his economic analysis. 
With Kuznets' assistance Nathan drafted 
and dispatched an answer marked by such 
phrases as "I hesitate to take your memo- 
randum seriously"; there is no reason "for 
now adopting an ostrich-like attitude"; 
and your conclusion "that these judg- 
ments be carefully hidden from the eyes 
of all thoughtful men is a nonsequitur." 
The Nathan letter went on: "I am obliged 
to be frank with you in expressing my dis- 
appointment in your reply. The problems 
discussed are important and their intelli- 
gent consideration is urgent." Nathan de- 
cried the fact that Somervell overlooked 
the basic findings of the report "in favor 
of minutiae" and urged that the main 
problem was the aggressive mobilizing of 
national resources for war. 

Two issues had become badly confused 
in the exchange of correspondence be- 
tween Mr. Nathan and General Somer- 
vell. First of all, there was the question of 
total military production which might 
reasonably be expected in 1942 and 1943. 
General Somervell was certainly not pre- 
pared to maintain that "unreal" procure- 
ment goals should be set up by the armed 
forces. For the most part, however, the 
ASF and others had been thinking in 
terms of physical limits to military pro- 
duction such as available industrial plants, 
labor supply, and raw materials. An 
analysis which attempted to summarize 
all of these limits in terms of the dollar as 
a common denominator was a new ap- 

5 Memo, Somervell for Nathan, Chm Planning 
Com, WPB, 1 2 Sep 42, CG ASF. 



proach. Somervell feared that the whole 
technique of such analysis contained suf- 
ficient possibility of error to result in an 
unnecessary cut in production goals. 

But along with the problem of deter- 
mining military production feasibility the 
Kuznets document had raised the issue of 
machinery for relating strategy and pro- 
duction. True, General Somervell had 
raised this very issue himself in May 1942. 
Then he had been rebuffed by Mr. Nelson 
largely on the advice of the same persons 
who were now pressing for somewhat dif- 
ferent machinery to accomplish the same 
purpose. But since May, Somervell had 
changed his mind. In any event it was this 
question of top administrative machinery 
in the Nathan correspondence rather than 
that of economic analysis which angered 

The "feasibility" issue came to a head 
at the meeting of the War Production 
Board on 6 October. Prior to this meeting 
Mr. Nathan sought out key individuals to 
support his position. He spoke to Mr. 
Leon Henderson, and obtained an inter- 
view with Mr. Harry Hopkins and Mr. 
Isador Lubin who usually represented 
Hopkins in these matters. For an hour the 
three men had sat on the back porch of 
the White House while Nathan argued his 
case. In the meantime Somervell gained 
the support of Under Secretary Patterson 
and Vice Admiral Robinson. Most im- 
portant of all, he came to the meeting with 
a letter from General Marshall to Mr. 
Nelson. General Marshall noted that "ef- 
fective and elaborate machinery has been 
established for the guidance of the strate- 
gic efforts of the combined armed forces. I 
do not believe that a joint committee con- 
sisting of an economist, a politician, and a 
person familiar with strategy but not with 
production, could be an effective means of 

controlling the war effort." General Mar- 
shall also designated Somervell as the 
"representative of the War Department 
for the interpretation of strategy to the 
War Production Board." 

The arguments at the meeting ranged 
over a wide variety of issues related to the 
"feasibility" question. In spite of the at- 
tack on excessive military requirements, 
it did not seem likely that the armed serv- 
ices would consent to lower goals. Then 
Leon Henderson, the OPA administrator, 
entered the argument. Henderson, when 
aroused, was a fighter. Beginning in a low 
voice he commented that the ninety bil- 
lion dollar military program was greater 
than the value of our entire national out- 
put in several prewar years. Then he re- 
marked that if the country couldn't wage 
war on ninety billions, maybe "we ought 
to get rid of our present Joint Chiefs, and 
find some who can." He then made a vio- 
lent personal attack on Somervell whom 
he charged with padding and inflating his 
requirements regardless of the disastrous 
consequences. He expressed himself as dis- 
gusted with Somervell's ignorance of pro- 
duction problems, his overbearing man- 
ner, and his obstinacy. When a listener 
attempted the role of peacemaker by re- 
marking that after all, Somervell did not 
make the strategy, Henderson referred to 
Marshall's instructions and sarcastically 
asked, "Ain't he got a letter." 6 The meet- 
ing adjourned without any decision. 

The day after the meeting Under Secre- 
tary Patterson told General Somervell 
that at the next session the War Produc- 
tion Board would probably recommend a 
military production objective for 1943 to- 

6 Min, WPB, 6 Oct 42; The Feasibility Dispute: 
Determination of War Production Objectives for 1942 
and 1943, Com on Public Adm Cases, 3 Thomas 
Circle, Washington 5, D. C, 1950, pp. 90-95. 



taling some eighty to eighty-five billion 
dollars and added his belief that "produc- 
tion objectives ought not to be far in front 
of estimated maximum production." He 
then expressed the further thought that 
if the Army and Navy programs were to 
be reduced to the limits set by the WPB, 
such a decision should be made by the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff with the approval of 
the President. The reduction would have 
to be "governed by consideration of mili- 
tary strategy." Patterson ended by ex- 
pressing his desire to discuss the whole 
matter at greater length with both Gen- 
erals Somervell and Clay. 7 In private 
discussions the Under Secretary stressed 
his desire to settle the issue amicably. 

The next meeting of the WPB took 
place on 13 October 1942. The meeting 
of the previous week had been unusually 
large as the contestants had rallied their 
supporters for the fight. It was a good 
omen for peace that, instead of forty par- 
ticipants, only a dozen people were pres- 
ent at the second meeting. Mr. Nelson 
opened the session by referring to the pre- 
vious discussion and by stating his belief 
that the present program for 1943 was im- 
practicable. He indicated that he was not 
certain whether the "maximum feasible 
level of munitions production and war 
construction" was seventy-five or eighty- 
five billion dollars. But he felt that the 
total was probably somewhere between 
the two figures. Mr. Leon Henderson ex- 
pressed his general agreement, as did 
Isador Lubin, sitting at the board meeting 
for Mr. Hopkins. Somervell then ex- 
pressed agreement with most of the discus- 
sion, although he stated that he was more 
optimistic than the others about the man- 
agement and control of the production 
program. He suggested that Nelson should 
inform the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the 

existing military production programs for 
1943 were too large to be attained within 
the established time limits. It would then 
be the responsibility of the JCS to deter- 
mine the necessary action "to bring the 
over-all program within the limits of pro- 
duction feasibility." 8 

This simple solution was immediately 
accepted by the WPB as official policy. 
The controversy, according to WPB his- 
torians, was stopped "practically in mid- 
stride." 9 Members of the WPB planning 
committee looked upon the result as a 
great victory. Actually, each side won the 
point that it considered most important. 
The War Production Board wanted pro- 
duction goals for 1943 reduced to what it 
called "feasible" objectives, and as a by- 
product had recommended a production 
strategy board. Somervell, on the other 
hand, was more optimistic about what was 
feasible, but he did not object to some re- 
duction of procurement goals. He was 
strongly opposed to the "grand super 
super board." The controversy ended with 
both sides satisfied when Somervell ac- 
cepted a limit to production goals and the 
WPB dropped the organizational pro- 

On 19 October 1942 Mr. Nelson ad- 
dressed a memorandum to the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff in which he pointed out 
that military requirements in the calendar 
year 1943 for munitions, facilities, and war 
construction then totaled ninety-two bil- 
lion dollars. With the carry-over of the in- 
completed portion of the 1942 program, 
the procurement goal would become 
ninety-seven billion dollars. This did not 
include subsistence, pay of the Army, and 

' Memo, Patterson for Somervell, 7 Oct 42, Hq 

B Min, 35th' Mtg, WPB, 13 Oct 42. 
9 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 289. 



other miscellaneous expenditures. On the 
basis of the best available evidence on 
available production facilities and the 
supply of raw materials and other critical 
resources, the WPB had concluded that 
the nation's total capacity to produce 
munitions, industrial facilities, and mili- 
tary construction could be set roughly at 
seventy-five billion dollars. The WPB be- 
lieved, Mr. Nelson said, that unless steps 
were taken to bring military procurement 
requirements into line with this produc- 
tion capacity, important parts of the pro- 
gram would not be fully achieved and 
there would be general confusion and 
chaos in the entire production effort. The 
WPB felt that the most satisfactory way to 
adjust requirements to productive capac- 
ity was to extend the date of delivery for 
some parts of the program into 1944. At 
the same time, it held that full provision 
must be made for the "must" programs as 
established by the President. 

Mr. Nelson added that the chairman of 
the Production Executive Committee of 
the WPB was being instructed to obtain 
from the procuring services a monthly 
schedule to meet the President's "must" 
programs, and to accomplish the remain- 
ing parts of the military production pro- 
gram in 1943 and such part of 1944 as 
would be necessary. He estimated that 
about 40 percent of the second part of this 
program would have to be scheduled for 
production in 1944. In deciding what part 
of the program could be extended into 
1944 with least damage to the war effort 
he asked the guidance of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff. This he wished to have not later 
than 15 November. To aid the JCS in 
making a decision, Nelson enclosed two 
papers, one summarizing the war produc- 
tion objectives for 1943 in dollar terms, 
and the other summarizing the estimated 

requirements for carbon steel, alloy steel, 
copper, and aluminum. The "must" pro- 
grams — aircraft, merchant shipbuilding, 
escort vessels, the USSR protocol, and raw 
materials plants — amounted to 48.8 bil- 
lion dollars. The remaining programs for 
the Army Ground Forces, the Navy, lend- 
lease, military and war housing, and in- 
dustrial facilities totaled 44.1 billion dol- 
lars. In both alloy steel and copper, esti- 
mated requirements exceeded total 
supply; the first by 7 percent and the sec- 
ond by nearly 24 percent. 10 

The reply, shaped in large part within 
the ASF, was delayed nine days beyond 
the stipulated date. It was given to WPB 
on 24 November 1942 by Admiral Leahy, 
acting in behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 
He announced that the procurement goals 
for 1943 had been reduced from ninety- 
three billion dollars to eighty billion dol- 
lars. Leahy added that the JCS believed 
that the revised 1943 military program 
had to be met in substance if the war ob- 
jectives for that year were to be accom- 
plished. Accordingly, the JCS urged an 
all-out effort to supply the required pro- 
duction facilities and materials. In revising 
the war production objectives downward, 
the aircraft program was reduced from 37 
billion dollars to a little over 33 billion, the 
lend-lease program was reduced from 7.8 
billion to 5.9 billion dollars (excluding 
Russian aid), the AGF equipment pro- 
gram from 18.8 billion dollars to 14.8 bil- 
lion dollars, the Navy program from 10.4 
billion to 8.1 billion dollars, command 
construction (except industrial plants) 
from 5.5 billion to 4 billion dollars, and 
industrial facilities construction from 2 
billion to 1 .65 billion dollars. This brought 

10 Memo, D. M. Nelson for JCS, 19 Oct 42, w/incls, 



about a reduction of nearly thirteen bil- 
lion dollars in procurement goals. 11 

This story of the adjustment of military 
procurement requirements in the autumn 
of 1942 is particularly important for one 
reason: it illustrated necessary interrela- 
tionships between the WPB, the JCS, the 
War Department, and the ASF This 
action had other significance as well. It is 
probable, for example, that the reduction 
in procurement goals for 1943 played a 
very substantial part in guaranteeing the 
successful operation of the Controlled Ma- 
terials Plan. Organizationally, moreover, a 
solution to the problem of relating strate- 
gic planning to production goals had now 
been found. The WPB estimated the total 
productive capacity of the nation and then 
fixed what in its judgment constituted the 
total proportion of productive effort which 
might be devoted to direct procurement of 
military supply. The Joint Chiefs of Staff 
in turn adjusted military procurement 
programs within the general limits set by 
the WPB. Strategic decisions were accord- 
ingly modified to meet this new situation, 
an arrangement that functioned through- 
out the remainder of the war. Productive 
capacity and military procurement re- 
quirements were thus brought into a 
rough but workable balance. 

Production Scheduling 

At the time that the issue of feasible 
military procurement goals was reaching 
a crisis, a new storm was gathering. On 18 
September 1942 Mr. Nelson had an- 
nounced the appointment of Mr. Charles 
E. Wilson, president of the General Elec- 
tric Company, as Production Vice-Chair- 
man of the WPB. At the same time a 
Production Executive Committee was 
established with Mr. Wilson as chairman. 

The various procurement agencies of the 
war program were represented on this 
committee, including the ASF, which was 
represented by General Somervell himself. 
The precise functions of the Production 
Executive Committee and of the Produc- 
tion Vice-Chairman were not immedi- 
ately determined. In a letter written in 
October, Somervell indicated the kind of 
production problem to which he thought 
Mr. Wilson should turn his attention. 
Confirming a discussion arising at a meet- 
ing of the Production Executive Commit- 
tee, Somervell informed Wilson that there 
was an "urgent and immediate need" for 
one billion rounds of .30-caliber ammuni- 
tion, but in order to achieve this output, 
the Ordnance Department would have to 
have nine thousand tons of copper in 
November and December each, and ten 
thousand tons in January. Would Mr. 
Wilson look into the possibility of increas- 
ing copper production sufficiently to 
achieve this 100 percent increase in am- 
munition objectives? 12 

The Office of the Production Vice- 
Chairman seemed disposed to a different 
concept of its functions and inclined to 
ride herd on the various military procure- 
ment agencies. Indication of this tendency 
was not long in coming. In the October 
Monthly Progress Report of the WPB, re- 
leased in the third week of November, the 
Office of Progress Reports declared that 
recent increases in deliveries of munitions 
were disappointing. The report then went 
on to say that output had not increased 
commensurately with the availability of 
raw materials for Army use. This failure it 
ascribed entirely to faulty production 

11 Ltr, Leahy to JCS and D. M. Nelson, 24 Nov 42, 

12 Ltr, Somervell to Wilson, 28 Oct 42, Hq ASF, 



scheduling by the procurement services. 13 
The change was apparently an opening 
shot in a new campaign to change the re- 
lationship of the WPB to the War Depart- 
ment. At a meeting of the Production 
Executive Committee on 1 1 November 
1942, Mr. Wilson proposed that a director 
general of production scheduling be set up 
who would be responsible to him, and that 
each procurement agency establish its 
own scheduling unit. Representatives 
from scheduling units in the armed serv- 
ices would make up a Production Execu- 
tive Committee Subcommittee on Sched- 
uling, which would establish criteria for 
scheduling, review production schedules, 
and adjust schedules to fit available pro- 
duction facilities and competing require- 
ments. Final authority would rest with 
Mr. Wilson. 14 

The next day General Somervell, joined 
by Admiral Robinson of the Office of the 
Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Davison 
of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, and 
General Echols of the AAF, sharply criti- 
cized these proposals. The suggested 
scheduling plan, their memorandum said, 
would be "impossible of execution" and 
was "in direct contravention of the agree- 
ments reached between the War Produc- 
tion Board, the Army, and the Navy." 
The proposed authority would enable the 
director general of production scheduling 
"to dictate whether we made cannons, 
tanks, airplanes, battleships, or other war 
materiel." Such powers, the military rep- 
resentatives declared, were outside the 
province of the WPB, and the Army and 
Navy "would be entirely unwilling to vest 
them in another agency." They asserted 
that "the decisions as to the priority in the 
manufacture of war materiel is closely al- 
lied to strategy and tactics and must be 
made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff." The 

memorandum added that though the War 
and Navy Departments "must insist on 
the maintenance of the terms of the 12 
March agreement," the two departments 
would be willing "to review with WPB the 
progress on end-item scheduling." 15 

Nevertheless, Nelson supported Mr. 
Wilson in his determination to go through 
with his production scheduling plans. On 
2 1 November Under Secretary Patterson 
received copies of two draft orders which 
Nelson indicated he was prepared to issue. 
Mr. Patterson showed these at once to 
General Somervell. One glance was 
enough to tell the worst. The Under Sec- 
retary agreed that the armed services 
should oppose these orders. 16 

The first draft order of one page only, 
was entitled "Powers of Production Vice- 
Chairman." Section 2 terminated "those 
provisions of the agreements with the War 
and Navy Departments . . . which dele- 
gate to the War Department or the Navy 
Department powers over production. 
. . ." Section 4 gave the Production Vice- 
Chairman the responsibility for schedul- 
ing out "the entire war production pro- 
gram . . . with the maximum productive 
possibilities of our economy, in the best 
possible balance with the requirements of 
the services under the strategic plans of 
the Chiefs of Staff." The proposed WPB 
order did leave one loophole whereby the 
armed services might retain some power 
over production. It provided that the Pro- 
duction Vice-Chairman might delegate to 
various agencies "such portions of his pro- 
duction functions as he finds it will be 
most efficient for them to perform." 

13 Min, 41st Mtg, WPB, 24 Nov 42. 

14 Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 512-13. 

15 Memo, Somervell, S. M. Robinson, and Davison 
for Wilson, 16 Nov 42, Hq ASF, WPB. 

16 Copies of both draft orders are in Hq ASF, WPB. 



The second proposed order established 
the Office of the Production Vice-Chair- 
man within the War Production Board 
and prescribed its functions in detail. 
Among the most important of these was 
the provision that the Production Vice- 
Chairman should "direct the formulation 
of production schedules for all war mate- 
rial, including delivery dates by months, 
by procuring agencies of the United States 
Government." He would approve produc- 
tion and delivery schedules of the procur- 
ing agencies and would "co-ordinate 
production and delivery schedules for war 
materials to assure a balanced program 
correlated to strategic plans developed by 
the Chiefs of Staff." 

These proposed orders indicated the full 
extent of WPB intentions. They meant 
that the 12 March 1942 agreement was to 
be terminated and that the WPB would 
now assert authority to fix military pro- 
duction schedules. To General Somervell 
this was a direct challenge which must be 
met head-on. He asked his assistant, Gen- 
eral Clay, to prepare a critique of the 
orders. He himself intervened at the 
White House through Mr. Hopkins. Ac- 
tually the ASF prepared three different 
papers. There was a rather thorough 
analysis by General Clay, a five-page con- 
densation by Clay of his longer paper, and 
a still briefer summary which reflected 
General Somervell's own estimate of the 
situation. Copies of all these papers were 
given to Under Secretary Patterson, who 
brought the whole matter to the attention 
of Secretary of War Stimson. 17 

In these papers Generals Somervell and 
Clay argued that the WPB orders would 
abrogate the existing arrangements on 
production between the WPB and the 
armed forces, would usurp the powers of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and would intro- 

duce procedures which violated "sound 
principles of organization and authority." 
They accused the WPB of failing to meet 
its responsibilities in several critical fields, 
and implied that the board was incom- 
petent to handle the job it wished to as- 
sume. The WPB proposals, Somervell and 
Clay said, would create wasteful and 
divided authority, would interpose an 
agency which would interfere with the 
smooth flow of materials, and would de- 
stroy the full control that the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff ought to have over all phases of 
military supply. Finally, Somervell and 
Clay asserted that the 12 March agree- 
ment was "logical and workable" and 
recommended that Mr. Nelson be given 
"explicit instructions" not to issue any 
orders contrary to it. 

At this point Nelson realized that he 
had a battle on his hands. Although he 
received an offer of assistance from the 
President, he expressed confidence that he 
could negotiate a settlement. 18 By nature 
he was inclined toward conciliation, a 
trait that his friends interpreted as demo- 
cratic. His opponents on the other hand 
viewed it as an indication of weakness as 
an administrator. In any event, President 
Roosevelt called Nelson, Secretary Stim- 
son, and Secretary Knox together and in- 
structed them "to compose their differ- 
ences." On 26 November 1942, five days 
after the two draft orders had been circu- 
lated, Mr. Nelson addressed a conciliatory 
letter to Secretary Stimson. He began by 

" The Headquarters, ASF, reading file contains a 
letter to Mr. Hopkins beginning "Dear Harry" dated 
21 November 1942, which indicates that Somervell 
had talked previously about the issue with him. The 
papers forwarded with this letter are found in Hq 
ASF, WPB, with these notations on them: "Somervell 
Digest of Clay Memo," "Clay Digest of Clay Memo," 
and "Clay Memo." 

16 Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 514-15. 



noting that the executive order creating 
the WPB gave him responsibility "in con- 
nection with procurement and produc- 
tion" and that he had appointed Mr. 
Wilson his deputy for production. He ex- 
plained that he had asked Mr. Wilson to 
do two things: first, to supervise the air- 
craft program, the radio and radar pro- 
gram, and the escort vessel program in 
order to achieve the President's goals for 
1943; second, to exercise "central control 
and general supervision," through the 
Production Executive Committee, over the 
scheduling of the various production pro- 
grams of the services. Mr. Nelson insisted 
that it was not his responsibility to deter- 
mine what the military services required 
for strategic purposes, and that he did not 
want to upset the duties and responsibil- 
ities of the production divisions of the 
services where the programs were going 
well. He wished only "to investigate and 
supervise" production programs to insure 
that they were proceeding satisfactorily 
and in accordance with the wishes of the 
chiefs of staff and the government's war 
program. He noted somewhat plaintively 
that he would like "the wholehearted co- 
operation of the armed services in ful- 
filling this responsibility." In turn he 
pledged WPB co-operation with the "one 
aim that we shall get the maximum pro- 
duction of which this country is ca- 
pable." 19 

Mr. Nelson may have delivered his let- 
ter in person. In any event he called upon 
Secretary Stimson during the morning of 
26 November to discuss the Army dis- 
agreement. There was no doubt that the 
letter provided a basis for agreement. 
Stimson asked Assistant Secretary McCloy 
and Under Secretary Patterson to partici- 
pate in discussions with Mr. Nelson to 
clarify the whole problem. Nelson, in a 

second letter to Secretary Stimson, sent on 
the afternoon of 26 November, wrote that 
"the point at issue seems too essentially 
simple," and added that he was "dis- 
turbed and puzzled by the amount of con- 
fusion which seems to have grown up 
around it." He then explained the situa- 
tion as he saw it. The Joint Chiefs of Staff 
were engaged in determining the program 
of munitions to be produced in 1943, 
"fixed with due regard to the practicable 
limits of production as indicated by the 
chairman of the War Production Board." 
In order to accomplish this large program, 
the WPB had to make sure that resources 
in materials, facilities, management, and 
labor were efficiently utilized. To do this, 
Nelson said, there must be a central con- 
trol agency to prevent competition among 
the various procurement agencies of the 
government. This competition, Mr. Nel- 
son declared, extended far beyond raw 
materials. It included rivalry for common 
components, such as generators, bearings, 
valves, compressors, blowers, and frac- 
tional horsepower motors as well as a 
struggle for control of facilities, labor, and 
management. Since competition became 
more intense as production requirements 
became larger, only "effective central 
direction and control," could stem the 
rivalry. "It seems to me," Mr. Nelson 
wrote, "to be my plain duty as chairman 
of the War Production Board to furnish 
this central direction and control. I do not 
see how it can be furnished by any other 
existing organization." He admitted that 
the scheduling of end-items of weapons 
and munitions was a responsibility of the 
procurement agencies but held that to in- 
sure that these schedules were adjusted to 
the "applicable limiting factors" there 

18 Ltr, D. M. Nelson to Stimson, 26 Nov 42, Hq 



must be some central review and control. 
This power he desired to vest in Mr. Wil- 
son, guided by the Production Executive 
Committee. Nelson concluded by say- 
ing that "it is my considered opinion 
that unless such a step is taken, the war 
production program for 1943 will not be 
achieved." 20 Even more than the first, 
this second letter of Mr. Nelson on 26 No- 
vember indicated a desire for an adjust- 
ment of Army-WPB differences. 

Secretary Stimson and his aides met 
Nelson and Wilson again on 27 Novem- 
ber. They agreed to prepare a statement 
which would embody their latest under- 
standing of WPB relations to the armed 
services. Under Secretary Patterson and 
Assistant Secretary McCloy then went to 
Nelson's office and prepared two drafts of 
a statement for mutual agreement. 

On the same day that top Army-WPB 
officials were meeting, General Somervell 
requested a special meeting of the WPB so 
that the Army Service Forces could pre- 
sent its point of view on production 
scheduling for the information of WPB 
officials. At this meeting the Ordnance 
Department, which had the largest pro- 
portion of ASF procurement, explained 
the procedures used for production sched- 
uling and forecasting. Maj. Gen. Levin H. 
Campbell, Jr., Chief of Ordnance, empha- 
sized the constantly changing needs for 
end-items of war supply and with the aid 
of several assistants, related how the Ord- 
nance Department had established indus- 
try integration committees bringing to- 
gether the engineering talents and 
production skills of the producers of an 
individual item. Modifications in sched- 
ules were recommended to the Ordnance 
Department by these committees. These 
schedules had to be altered to meet 
changes in design, or tardy delivery of 

materials and components. This presenta- 
tion demonstrated that the ASF was con- 
cerned with production scheduling, had 
devised procedures for it, and had made 
changes to fit available raw material 
supplies and other factors. 21 

The following day, on 28 November, 
Secretary Stimson sent Nelson a draft of 
the new Army-WPB understanding. He 
explained that this draft, while not sub- 
stantially different from the one Mr. Nel- 
son had presented to him, "accords most 
nearly with my own recollection of the 
course of our united discussions yester- 
day," and constituted a sort of "bill of 
rights for the practices of the services." 
The Secretary concluded by stating that 
this paper, with Mr. Nelson's two letters, 
should furnish a "workable understanding 
for the future" and meet the "President's 
directive to us to compose our former dif- 
ferences." He then enclosed a copy of his 
statement signed by Secretary of Navy 
Knox and promised that if Mr. Wilson 
encountered any difficulty in accomplish- 
ing his objective, "We will all try to meet 
you again in the same spirit." 22 

On 1 December at the next regular 
meeting of the War Production Board, 
General Clay presented a document en- 
titled Production Progress and Scheduling. 
This paper protested that whatever short- 
comings there might be in military pro- 
duction scheduling could be attributed to 
an inadequate supply of raw materials 
and to the absence of firm control over 
their distribution. For example, General 
Clay mentioned that the failure to fore- 
cast accurately the deliveries of medium 

20 Ltr, D.~M. Nelson to SW, 26 Nov 42, Hq ASF, 

- 21 Min, WPB, 27 Nov 42. 

22 Ltr, Stimson to D. M. Nelson, 28 Nov 42, Hq 
ASF, WPB. See |Appen. ~U\ for the Stimson-Knox 



tanks, as pointed out in the WPB report, 
was the result of the fact that the WPB 
had not allocated alloy steel with which to 
make tank treads. 23 In other words, Gen- 
eral Clay implied that failure in produc- 
tion scheduling was the fault not of the 
armed services but of the WPB. 

The final solution to the production 
scheduling controversy preserved the es- 
sentials of the 12 March agreement. If Mr. 
Nelson had not permitted someone in 
WPB to draft or to circulate an order 
which categorically declared that the 
agreement was terminated, there never 
would have been such a controversy. But 
to declare the agreement ended and to 
assert that the WPB would "direct the 
formulation of production schedules for all 
war materials, including delivery dates by 
months," was simply asking for trouble. 24 

For the record it should be made clear 
that General Somervell and others in the 
ASF never at any time opposed WPB 
scheduling of component parts. The Con- 
trolled Materials Plan announced on 2 
November 1942, set up a category of Class 
B products for which the WPB allocated 
materials directly. No one in ASF objected 
to that arrangement. What Somervell and 
his staff in ASF opposed was the WPB ef- 
fort to terminate the 12 March agreement 
by unilateral action. They objected also to 
the WPB insistence upon fixing produc- 
tion schedules for end-items of military 
equipment. General Somervell felt so 
strongly on both scores that, as has been 
noted, he went so far as to suggest that Mr. 
Baruch should replace Nelson in order to 
prevent the WPB from taking over Army 
functions. 25 Only after Mr. Nelson's letters 
of 26 November, when the WPB chair- 
man made clear that he was not trying to 
take over ASF procurement duties, was 
the way opened to settling the controversy. 

It seems likely that Nelson at the outset 
didn't know what he wanted his Produc- 
tion Vice-Chairman to do. Mr. Wilson 
was probably invited to join the WPB as a 
counterweight to Mr. Eberstadt, whom 
many persons inside the WPB were reluc- 
tant to accept because of his previous 
vigorous championship of Army and Navy 
viewpoints. One group in WPB was 
always fearful that the Army would take 
over "control" of the economy, and con- 
stantly watched for opportunities to re- 
strict the ASF. Furthermore Nelson seems 
never to have appreciated how much im- 
portance General Somervell attached to 
the 12 March agreement defining WPB- 
War Department relationships, possibly 
because he was not particularly sensitive 
about organizational matters; Somervell 
was. Under such circumstances it was dif- 
ficult for the two minds to meet. 

Undoubtedly another factor making for 
complication was the very different rela- 
tionship which existed between the WPB 
and the Army Air Forces. There was an 
elaborate array of joint committees and 

23 Min, WPB, 1 Dec 42. A copy of Production 
Progress and Scheduling may be found in Hq ASF 

21 It is impossible to reconcile Nelson's own account 
of this controversy with his correspondence to the War 
Department. He does not mention the draft orders or 
the intention to abrogate the 12 March agreement. 
He reports that Mr. Wilson's task was first, to increase 
the supply of critical components and second, to set 
up an orderly scheduling program. This intention 
alone, he suggests, stirred up "the bitterest fight I ever 
had with the War Department people. The funda- 
mental principles underlying the scheduling and allo- 
cation of critical components were involved." He adds 
that he was convinced that the WPB should take over 
the allocation of raw materials. Mr. Nelson even says 
that Secretary Stimson decided that he, Nelson, was 
right, and directed the Army to "go along." See 
D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy , pp. 382-85. 

" Leahy, / Was There, pp. 130-31. Admiral Leahy 
recalls the proposal but entirely misplaces the episode 
in time. He confuses the issue with the di smissal of 
Mr. Eberstadt the following February. See p. 21 1| 



boards which linked together the WPB, 
the AAF, and the Navy Bureau of Aero- 
nautics in the production of aircraft. These 
included an Aircraft Production Board, 
an Aircraft Resources Control Office, and 
an Aircraft Scheduling Unit, the last lo- 
cated at Wright Field. Much of this ma- 
chinery had been set up as early as the 
spring of 1941. Under existing arrange- 
ments, the AAF and the Navy practically 
turned production scheduling of aircraft 
over to WPB officials. In the light of this 
fact WPB could not see why the same pro- 
cedures should not apply to the Army. But 
General Somervell was opposed to such an 
arrangement. He had an active division in 
ASF headquarters carefully watching pro- 
duction scheduling by the ASF procure- 
ment agencies — the technical services. If 
the WPB worked directly with these tech- 
nical services, one reason for the existence 
of an ASF headquarters would have been 
removed. But more than this, ASF head- 
quarters wished to be free to shift produc- 
tion schedules as changing overseas 
combat experience or plans demanded. If 
the WPB had to be consulted about and 
approve every shift, delays might result. 
Somervell was determined to keep supply 
closely intermeshed with procurement op- 
erations, for in that relationship he saw 
the primary contribution of the ASF to 
the war effort. 

Unfortunately, the WPB-ASF contro- 
versy seeped down to the operating levels 
of both organizations and also became 
public. After the issues had been adjusted, 
the War Department, the Navy Depart- 
ment, and the War Production Board 
tried to pour oil on troubled waters by is- 
suing a joint press release stating that the 
dispute from the first "had to do with 
method, never with purpose or principle. 
To win the war quickly, effectively, and 

with the lowest expenditures of life, is 
everybody's goal." Conversations among 
officials of the organizations involved had 
resolved all issues, the release declared, 
and the new arrangements assured "that 
the immense production task for 1943 will 
be carried through to a successful conclu- 
sion." 26 A separate statement by Mr. Nel- 
son accompanied the joint release explain- 
ing more fully just what Mr. Wilson's 
duties would be. On 9 December 1942, 
the WPB issued a series of orders defining 
Wilson's duties. Then on 17 December, 
Under Secretary Patterson wrote to Mr. 
Nelson that it was the Army understand- 
ing that the WPB intended through its 
Production Executive Committee to es- 
tablish feasible limits of the several mili- 
tary programs; to control the scheduling 
and allocation of common components; 
and to review scheduling methods and 
procedures in the procurement agencies." 
But it was the Army's distinct understand- 
ing that it alone would "be responsible for 
the establishment and adjustment of end- 
item schedules as it deems necessary to the 
war effort. . . ." These press releases, 
orders, and letters marked the official end 
of the controversy over production sched- 
uling. No further difficulty on that score 
arose throughout the rest of the war. 


The question of production control 
raised basic problems of relationship be- 
tween the WPB and the ASF. The prob- 

26 This press release is quoted in full in D. M. Nel- 
son, Arsenal of Democracy , pp. 386-87. 

'" Ltr, Patterson to D. M. Nelson, 17 Dec 42. A 
copy of this letter is in Hq ASF files with the hand- 
written notation at the bottom: "Delivered in person 
to Mr. Nelson Dec 1 7 by the USW, Mr. Nelson agree- 
ing fully to the principles, L.D.C." These are Gen 
Clay's initials. 



lem of feasible military procurement goals 
was partly one of substance — of economic 
policy — and partly one of organizational 
relations, of how to fix total military pro- 
curement goals and of how to divide avail- 
able productive resources among various 
military procurement programs. The issue 
of production scheduling had also raised 
questions as to who should have primary 
responsibility for fixing production sched- 
ules of end-items of military materiel. 

In 1944 a different kind of controversy 
arose between the WPB and the ASF. This 
time no organizational relationship as 
such was involved. The issue was entirely 
a matter of policy on which there was 
basic disagreement between the War De- 
partment and some civilian agencies on 
the one hand and certain groups within 
the WPB on the other. In the end, the 
Executive Office of the President had to 
intervene and settle the dispute. Here 
again, the entire controversy was argued 
not just on its merits but on ideological 
grounds. The War Department was ac- 
cused once more of trying to "control the 
civilian economy." The conflict was also 
portrayed in the public press as a struggle 
between "big" and "little" business for 
postwar markets. The subject of this con- 
troversy was the timing of production 
reconversion from war to peacetime 

Apparently, Mr. Nelson began to think 
about industrial reconversion early in 
1943. In April of that year he asked Mr. 
Ernest Kanzler, a former WPB official, to 
prepare a report for him on reconversion 
problems. 28 Kanzler reported in June. 
From then on there was a rising crescendo 
of interest in the subject. In October Pres- 
ident Roosevelt asked the director of the 
Office of War Mobilization to appoint Mr. 
Bernard Baruch and Mr. John M. Han- 

cock to study industrial demobilization. 29 
Three weeks later the Truman Committee 
issued its report entitled Outline of Prob- 
lems of Conversion from War Produc- 
tion. 30 Mr. Nelson announced that as 
manpower, facilities, and materials be- 
came available in a given area, and where 
there was no conflict with programs of a 
higher urgency, WPB would authorize 
the production of additional civilian 
goods. 31 

Under Secretary of War Patterson and 
General Somervell opposed this reconver- 
sion proposal. Both men were alike in 
their single-minded concentration on 
meeting Army procurement requirements. 
They doubted that the "coddling" of civil- 
ians by producing additional nonmilitary 
items could be accomplished without 
hurting military needs. Both believed that 
even if the industrial problems could be 
overcome, reconversion would create a 
peace psychology with an accompanying 
letdown in military production effort. 
They did not object to reconversion plan- 
ning as such but they did to Nelson's tim- 
ing and to the publicity given to his 

The ASF believed that a large part of 
the evils of reconversion planning could be 
mitigated if the control of the operation 
were in suitable hands. Accordingly Som- 
ervell's director of materiel, General Clay, 
asked one of his assistants, J. A. Panuch, to 
prepare a recommendation that both cut- 
backs and reconversion be handled by the 
Production Executive Committee in 
WPB. In spite of the earlier dispute be- 
tween ASF and WPB over the Production 

28 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy , p. 392. 

29 The New York Times, October 7, 1943. 

30 Additional Report of the Special Committee Investigat- 
ing the National Defense Program, Senate, 78th Cong, 1st 
Sess, 5 Nov 43, Senate Rpt 10, Pt. 12. 

31 Min, WPB, 30 Nov 43. 



Executive Committee and its powers, the 
armed forces by this time had a great deal 
of influence in the committee and worked 
very well with its chairman, Mr. Charles 
Wilson. In a sense, Wilson was now being 
pitted against Nelson, since he favored the 
Panuch plan. On the other hand Nelson 
hesitated to accept it, which was inter- 
preted as fear that the plan would give the 
determination of reconversion policy to 
the military. Ultimately Nelson agreed to 
accept it and after long delay both cut- 
backs and reconversion were put under 
the jurisdiction of the Production Execu- 
tive Committee. 

Nelson's position was becoming increas- 
ingly difficult. By 1944 the status of the 
WPB had deteriorated and the "center of 
power" had shifted. Manpower had be- 
come the crucial problem, and control over 
this resource was vested in the War Man- 
power Commission, not the WPB. More- 
over, the Office of War Mobilization, 
headed by former Justice James F. Byrnes, 
had been created. 32 Byrnes was on the best 
of terms with representatives of the armed 
forces, but there was some doubt about his 
attitude toward Mr. Nelson. Mr. Byrnes 
in his new assignment not only had some 
powers which had formerly been assigned 
to Nelson, but also the authority to decide 
conflicts between WPB and other agen- 
cies. In short he, rather than Nelson, had 
become the top policy maker on war 
production issues. 

Nelson faced a dilemma. On the one 
hand he was anxious to proceed with re- 
conversion planning; on the other hand he 
had to obtain Mr. Byrnes' approval, over- 
come Army objections, and find an alter- 
native to the proposals that would put 
authority into the hands of the Production 
Executive Committee. On 1 1 January 
1944 he told the War Production Board 
that cutbacks in the production of military 

goods would create pockets of unemploy- 
ment throughout the country. Reconver- 
sion he argued, ought to take up the slack 
in employment. To this Under Secretary 
Patterson immediately replied that any 
talk of reconversion before the European 
invasion was even launched was prema- 
ture. He added that relaxation on the 
home front would damage morale on the 
military front. As a result of this discus- 
sion, the board put off proposals for imme- 
diate reconversion. 33 

Interest in reconversion did not cool, 
however. On 15 February 1944 Baruch 
and Hancock issued their Report on War and 
Post- War Adjustment Policy; 34 a week later 
Mr. Byrnes ordered all war agencies to 
implement the recommendations of the 
report; 35 and at the beginning of March, 
the Truman Committee publicly cham- 
pioned Nelson's earlier announced pro- 
gram of gradual reconversion. 36 Then on 
22 May 1944, the Navy suddenly an- 
nounced a cutback of its fighter plane pro- 
gram and the cancellation of a contract 
with the Brewster Corporation which 
would result in closing its Long Island 
plant. Angry workers, with a good deal of 
public backing, threatened a "stay in" 
strike until they got work. 37 

These events spurred Mr. Nelson to ac- 
tion. A chief reason for his previous delay 
was that he still hesitated to place recon- 
version authority in the Production Exec- 
utive Committee, which he felt had too 
many military members to handle an es- 

32 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 721. 

33 Min, WPB, 1 1 Jan 44. 

31 Bernard M. Baruch and John M. Hancock, Re- 
port on War and Post- War Adjustment Policy, Senate, 
78th Cong, 2d Sess, 15 Feb 44, Senate Doc. 154. 

33 The New York Times, February 22, 1944. 

36 Additional Report of the Special Committee Investigat- 
ing the National Defense Program, Senate, 78th Gong, 2d 
Sess, 4 Mar 44, Senate Rpt 10, Pt. 16. 

37 The New York Times, May 23, 30, 1944. 



sentially civilian problem. But no satis- 
factory substitute machinery had been 
developed, and since the pressure was 
great, Nelson surrendered. On 18 June he 
announced a program under the control 
of the Production Executive Committee 
which among other things made some raw 
materials immediately available for civil- 
ian production. 38 

Nelson's announcement came just 
twelve days after the invasion of Europe 
had begun, which led the Army to protest 
its timing. Patterson wrote to Nelson that 
while he appreciated the desirability of 
reconversion planning, he was apprehen- 
sive of positive steps at a time when 
American troops were locked in mortal 
combat with the enemy. A few days later, 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly an- 
nounced that it opposed immediate recon- 
version. On 4 July in a heavily attended 
meeting of the War Production Board, the 
question again came up for discussion. 
Nelson was not on hand, having been hos- 
pitalized with pneumonia. The opposition 
to reconversion was led by Mr. Patterson 
who pointed to the very serious "slippage" 
in war production and stated that if the 
trend continued, "the ability of our sol- 
diers to pour it on in full measure to the 
Germans and the Japs is sure to be im- 
paired." 39 On 8July 1944 a letter of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff to Mr. Nelson was 
made public which stated that the "exist- 
ing lag in war production . . . may ne- 
cessitate revision in strategic plans which 
could prolong the war." 40 

In the meantime General Somervell 
spear- headed a drive to increase war pro- 
duction. On 4 July he announced that 
munitions output was behind schedule 
and urged "stop delaying production. . . . 
Put off that fishing trip, it can come after 
the war is won." He told the Indiana 
Chamber of Commerce: "We must re- 

member that our sons are fighting on a 
twenty-four hour shift in Normandy and 
there's no double pay for overtime, and no 
time out for their postwar planning 
either." 41 

Mr. Nelson was incensed at what he 
believed were exaggerated and mislead- 
ing statements. He complained to Mr. 
Byrnes about the actions of the services. 
At the same time, Under Secretary Patter- 
son and Somervell were also pleading with 
Byrnes to help get a "sense of urgency" 
into the war effort. Again, they pointed to 
the disastrous psychological effect of im- 
mediate reconversion. In effect, Byrnes 
sided with the services when he gave the 
War Manpower Commission, whose out- 
look on reconversion was basically the 
same as that of the armed services, the au- 
thority to review all specific reconversion 
proposals. 42 

It is important also to note that the War 
Department was not alone in its opposi- 
tion to Nelson's reconversion proposals. 
The staff of the WPB itself was divided. 
Mr. Wilson was only one of many board 
officials who were less than enthusiastic. 
He and many other leaders of industry 
who had patriotically left their private 
pursuits to serve within the War Produc- 
tion Board were deeply wounded and in- 
describably bitter at the smear attack 
which attributed their opposition to recon- 
version to fear that small business would 
get a headstart on big business. The WMC 
was also opposed to an early resumption 
of peacetime production, even on a small 
scale. Again and again Chairman Paul 
McNutt had asserted that reconversion 

38 Ibid., June 18, 1944. 
38 Min, WPB, 4 Jul 44. 

40 The New York Times, July 9, 1944. 

41 The New York Times, July 5, 1944. 

42 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 808. 



would aggravate an already tight man- 
power situation. 

In the face of all this opposition Nelson 
grimly determined to go through with his 
plans. He had a good deal of backing from 
labor, from small business, and from such 
a powerful Congressional body as the 
Truman Committee. He tried to soften the 
impact, however, by instituting his orders 
gradually. Three were issued between 15 
July and 29 July. 43 The fourth and most 
controversial, the "spot authorization 
order" provided that a WPB regional 
director could authorize, under certain 
circumstances, a small manufacturer to 
produce civilian goods. This order was put 
into effect on 15 August. 44 

The long simmering conflict had come 
to a boil. President Roosevelt was troubled 
by what had become a public brawl. Con- 
sequently, when Chiang Kai-shek re- 
quested him to send a personal represen- 
tative to China, the President saw a 
possible solution to his problem in offering 
the assignment to Mr. Nelson. Nelson 
accepted. In spite of the charge that Nel- 
son was being "exiled" and the statement 
by a Nelson intimate to Sterling Green of 
the Associated Press that "Nelson is being 
kicked right square in the groin," Nelson 
himself declared that he was going to 
China willingly because he felt he had an 
important mission to perform. 45 

Meanwhile, Mr. Wilson had grown 
more and more bitter over the charges 
that he represented big business. He be- 
lieved that they were inspired by Nelson's 
personal staff and that Nelson had hesi- 
tated both in exonerating him and in 
curbing his opponents. At an eventful 
meeting on 24 August 1944, Nelson told 
the WPB staff about his coming trip to 
China. Trying to avoid an open break, he 
eulogized Wilson. But Wilson refused to 
be placated. He told the same meeting 

that with Nelson in China, every action he 
took would be held as a betrayal of his 
absent chief. Rather than be put in such a 
situation, he declared, he had sent his 
resignation to the President. Later, at a 
press conference Wilson savagely attacked 
Nelson and his policies. On the same day 
Mr. J. A. Krug, much to his own amaze- 
ment, was asked by the President to be- 
come acting chairman of the War Produc- 
tion Board. 46 

Subsequently, Mr. Nelson described the 
conflict over reconversion as "the most 
severe fight between military and civilian 
elements which our government ever wit- 
nessed." 47 His statement completely over- 
looked the opposition of Mr. Wilson and 
other civilian officials within his own 
agency, the opposition of the chairman 
and staff of the War Manpower Commis- 
sion, and the intervention of Byrnes, who 
decided against the Nelson program. His 
statement also implied that Under Secre- 
tary Patterson had no mind of his own on 
the issue and was only a mouthpiece for 
men in uniform. Blind to all these facts, 
Mr. Nelson then proceeded to level such 
charges as these: (1) that the Army tried 
to protect war production "by the simple 
means of creating pools of unemploy- 
ment"; 48 (2) that the military "mistrusted 
American management as well as Ameri- 
can labor" and did not want them to think 
about reconversion; 49 and (3) that the 
armed forces "miscalculated" their mili- 
tary procurement needs in reducing some 

43 The New York Times, July 1 1, 16, 23, 29, 1944. 

44 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, pp. 401-02; 
The New York Times, August 15, 1944. 

45 The New York Times, August 20, 21, 24, 1944. 

46 Industrial Mobilization for War, pp. 731-41 
Harold Stein, ed., Public Administration and Policy De- 
velopment (New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 
Inc., 1952), p. 215. 

47 D. M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy , p. 402. 
,<s Ibid., p. 402. 

tv Ibid.,p. 407. 



schedules and then in increasing them 
later. 50 

The intemperance of these charges must 
provide their principal refutation. There 
need to be added but a few facts for the 
record. First, it is important to note that 
during the first seven months of 1944, 
military procurement deliveries steadily 
declined in volume. To help remedy this 
situation which was regarded as a matter 
of serious concern within the ASF, General 
Somervell in the summer of 1944 launched 
a vigorous campaign for increased war 
output. 51 On 1 July 1944 the WMC an- 
nounced the extension of its manpower 
priorities program to three hundred major 
production areas over the whole country. 
Labor shortages had become a serious ob- 
stacle to military procurement. Previously, 
Mr. Nelson had said that the military 
should determine its procurement needs. 
In 1944 he contended that those needs 
were unduly high and that complaints of 
shortages were "phony." He stated that he 
was prepared to maintain that the war 
could be won with fewer military supply 
deliveries than those previously approved 
and scheduled for delivery during the year 
but offered no basis for his belief, however. 

Second, neither Under Secretary Pat- 
terson nor General Somervell at any time 
expressed opposition to WPB and indus- 
trial planning for postwar reconversion to 
peacetime production. In its relations with 
its contractors, the ASF was actually en- 
couragingjust such planning during 1944 
and especially in early 1945. What the 
Army representatives objected to was a 
program to start actual reconversion while 
the war was still on and when neither its 
outcome nor date of termination could be 
clearly forecast. They firmly believed that 
an active reconversion program would en- 
courage management and labor to believe 
that the war was won, that military pro- 

duction was no longer important, and that 
it was time to scramble for a good com- 
petitive position in the postwar production 
of civilian goods. Patterson and Somervell 
were both convinced that to encourage 
attitudes like these, which they believed 
the Nelson order of 15 August 1944 did, 
would endanger the successful outcome of 
the war. 

Third, the reconversion controversy, as 
already noted, was settled by Byrnes, a 
civilian. As director of the Office of 
War Mobilization and Reconversion 
(OWMR), he exercised his authority in 
the name of the President. His position 
was one of arbitrator of home-front prob- 
lems. The War Department was opposed 
to Nelson's reconversion orders, which was 
its privilege. It could not prevent the issu- 
ance of those orders; indeed, the orders 
were issued over the protest of War De- 
partment representatives, including Mr. 
Patterson. The War Department then in 
accord with established procedure ap- 
pealed its case to the OWMR for decision. 
Byrnes indicated that he felt the Nelson 
orders were inadvisable at that time. 52 

On 30 September 1944 Mr. Nelson for- 
mally resigned the chairmanship of the 
War Production Board. In the meantime 
the military services continued to press 

50 Ibid., p. 408. 

51 Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 192. 

" The historian of the OWMR, noting Mr. Nel- 
son's reference to his reconversion disagreements with 
the Army as "the bitterest of all arguments with the 
Army," remarks that Nelson "might have said with 
equal accuracy 'the bitterest of arguments with 
WMC,' or 'the bitterest of arguments with WPB.' " 
This historian adds later that Mr. Nelson "regarded 
the entire issue as a 'long and bitter controversy with 
the military over control of America's civilian econo- 
my' rather than a difference over the timing of recon- 
version steps, and whether such steps would interfere 
with the war." See Herman M. Somers, Presidential 
Agency, The Office of War Mobilization and Reconver- 
sion (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 
1940), pp. 183, 188. 



against "spot authorizations." On 19 No- 
vember General Eisenhower stated that a 
lack of ammunition had delayed the cap- 
ture of Aachen, and Somervell said that 
shells were in such short supply that they 
had to be flown to the front. On 23 No- 
vember 1944 a "memorandum of agree- 
ment" was drawn up between Krug and 
Hiland G. Batcheller of WPB, and Gen- 
eral Somervell and Mr. Howard Bruce, 
civilian successor to General Clay in the 
ASF in charge of production. The WPB 
agreed to permit no further relaxation of 
restrictions on civilian production for the 
time being and to expand civilian produc- 
tion in the future only after "full consider- 
ation" of any military objections. 53 Finally 
on 1 December, the chairman of the WPB, 
the chairman of the WMC, Under Secre- 
tary of War Patterson, and Under Secre- 
tary of the Navy Forrestal agreed to 
suspend spot authorizations for reconver- 
sion in 103 areas where there were serious 
manpower shortages. 54 Nelson's program 
had been all but abandoned. 

At no time had Somervell been inter- 
ested in opposing Nelson for personal 
reasons; to him reconversion was only a 
small part of the larger danger of compla- 
cency, of a slackening in military produc- 
tion. Even after the victory over the Nelson 
program, he continued his campaign to 
create a sense of urgency in war produc- 
tion. In Boston on 2 December 1944 he 
said that the war's end was being delayed 
because workers were deserting their jobs 
and in New York he told an audience that 
workers were worrying about their post- 
war futures when the postwar future of 
many of our soldiers would be under six 
feet of German sod. 55 Such talk naturally 
aroused a good deal of resentment among 
business and labor people. They did not 
dispute the need for greater production 
but held that the Army itself was responsi- 

ble for shortages when it miscalculated 
requirements and when it ordered cut- 
backs. By castigating others, they said, the 
Army was trying to cover its own mistakes. 
Moreover, actual shortages at the front 
arose more from logistical difficulties than 
from production failures. 56 

Such opposition tended to make Gen- 
eral Somervell more circumspect. When 
he appeared before a Congressional com- 
mittee, he still pleaded the same urgency, 
but was much more careful than he had 
been in his public speeches. He pointed 
out that in spite of the shortage of man- 
power, no military campaign had yet 
suffered from shortages. "Our problem," 
he told the committee, "is to keep us from 
suffering from a lack of supplies." When 
Senator James M. Tunnell of Delaware 
remarked that on the Army Radio Hour 
he "heard one fellow make the statement 
that they fired two shots where they could 
have fired five because of the shortage of 
ammunition," General Somervell ex- 
plained, "That's because of the difficulties 
of getting ammunition from the ships to 
the gun and not because of any failure of 
production yet. . . ." 57 

Though Somervell was more careful in 
his remarks he did not become less force- 
ful. He waged his war against compla- 
cency as vigorously as ever. On 6 Decem- 
ber 1944 he carried his fight for an 
appreciation of the need for more war 
production to the National Association of 

53 Memo of Agreement, Gonf between Krug and 
Batcheller, Somervell, Bruce, Col. Frank R. Denton, 
and Col. Maurice R. Scharff, 23 Nov 44, Hq ASF, 

54 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 812. 

55 The JVew York Times, December 2-4, 1944. 

56 Stein, Public Administration and Policy Development; 
The Reconversion Controversy, Com on Public Adm 
Cases, 3 Thomas Circle, Washington 5, D. C, passim. 

57 Hearings before a Special Committee Investigating the 
National Defense Program, Senate, 78th Cong, 2d Sess, 
Pt. 26, pp. 1 1989-93. 



Manufacturers. He began his speech there 
with the words: "This is the most impor- 
tant speech I have ever made." He then 
said, "Make no mistake about our situa- 
tion, they have supplies at the front right 
now. It's the future we must provide for." 
Greater weight of munitions, he empha- 
sized, could shorten the war and save lives. 
"This nation," he said, "has committed its 
troops to fighting the war in one specific 
fashion — with an overwhelming superi- 
ority of material. . . . American industry 
and American workers must rededicate 
themselves, here and now, to an upsurge 
of production on the home front so that 
our forces on all fronts shall be limited in 
their use of materiel only by our ability to 
get it to them and by elbow room on the 
fighting fronts in which to use it." 58 

The Germans in their counterattack in 
the Ardennes on 16 December 1944 pro- 
vided emphasis for this speech. The Battle 
of the Bulge, creating the necessary sense 
of urgency on the home production front, 
completed the demise of the Nelson recon- 
version proposals. Early in December 
1944 General Clay was transferred to be- 
come Mr. Byrnes' deputy in the Office of 
War Mobilization and Reconversion. 59 It 
is probable that Clay was influential in 
drawing up the first report of that office 
under the Reconversion Act. This report 
placed part of the blame for production 
shortages on Nelson's "too early start 
toward reconversion." 60 

Reconversion talk was not renewed un- 
til after the defeat of Germany had become 
almost certain. By that time Nelson's pro- 
posals had become only a small part of a 
much larger program. The battle was re- 
newed on as fierce a scale as ever, and the 
charges of military dictatorship were again 
raised. Mr. Byrnes' own advisory commit- 
tee blasted him for his surrender of home- 
front control to the Army, castigated 

General Clay and demanded his removal. 
Mr. Byrnes told them, "He's leaving." 61 
But this time the end of the war in Europe 
was in sight. Somervell himself recom- 
mended to the Chief of Staff that Clay be 
transferred to the European Theater of 
Operations. The ASF was ready now to 
think more seriously than ever before 
about reconversion and neither Patterson 
nor Somervell wished to oppose a positive 
step looking toward actual reconversion to 
peacetime production. 

Smaller War Plants 

Just as the Army and the WPB had to 
mesh their policies and operations in 
large-scale undertakings, so did they find 
it necessary to establish careful and satis- 
factory working relationships down to the 
smallest war plant. Public Law 603 of the 
77th Congress, approved on 11 June 1942, 
provided for the chairman of the War Pro- 
duction Board to appoint a deputy spe- 
cifically assigned to mobilizing the produc- 
tive capacity of small business concerns. 
Under the terms of the act, the WPB 
chairman was to direct the attention of 
procurement officers of the government to 
the productive capacity of small plants 
and to take such action as would result in 
the granting of government contracts to 
small businesses. Here again it was left for 
administrative officers to develop working 

58 WD press release, 6 Dec 44, address by Somer- 
vell before the NAM. 

59 Ltr, Dir OWMR to Clay, 4 Dec 44, Industrial 
Rec Div, National Archives. 

60 Problems of Mobilization and Reconversion: First Re- 
port to the President, the Senate, and the House of Repre- 
sentatives by the Director of War Mobilization and 
Reconversion, January 1, 1945 (Washington, U.S. Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, 1945). See also below, pp. 

61 The Reconversion Controversy, passim., cited in 
n. 56; The New York Times, March 29, 1945. 



relationships to effect the purpose of the 

In August 1942 a Small War Plants 
Branch was established in ASF headquar- 
ters to promote as full a utilization of small 
plants as possible, consistent with quality, 
quantity, and speed requirements in the 
delivery of war supplies. A month before, 
officials of the ASF had begun a series of 
discussions with the Smaller War Plants 
Division of the WPB to determine the best 
methods for carrying out the act. An 
agreement in principle was reached within 
a short time, but it was not officially an- 
nounced until October. The delay was 
caused by the absence of the chairman of 
the Smaller War Plants Corporation from 
the United States and the reluctance of 
any of his subordinates to give final 

On 30 October 1942 the commanding 
general of the ASF distributed a statement 
of policy on the use of smaller war plants 
to the seven technical services. This policy 
outlined the procedures which had been 
agreed upon in order to derive maximum 
benefit from the Smaller War Plants Divi- 
sion. A representative of the War Produc- 
tion Board was assigned to each technical 
service to work with an officer designated 
by the service. The two were to review the 
procurement requirements of the Army 
Supply Program and select products suit- 
able for manufacture by plants recom- 
mended by the WPB. They would then 
ascertain the total quantities of products 
which might be provided by small plants 
and direct contracting officers to place 
definite orders. In addition, existing prime 
contracts were to be examined, with rep- 
resentatives of the WPB to determine the 
possible extent of additional subcontract- 
ing. Subcontracting of future contracts 
was also to be extended. The statement 
made clear that it was War Department 

policy to place contracts with small busi- 
nesses without the necessity of compulsory 
certification by the WPB or the actual 
making of procurement contracts by the 
Smaller War Plants Corporation. Repre- 
sentatives of the Smaller War Plants Divi- 
sion were also stationed in each of the 
district procurement offices of the techni- 
cal services. 

Preferential treatment for smaller con- 
cerns was provided for in a WPB directive 
issued on 10 October 1942. Under existing 
procurement directives a percentage of 
business was usually earmarked for small 
companies and forwarded for execution to 
buying offices in the field. In time, most of 
the screening took place entirely in the 
field rather than in Washington, thus 
avoiding the duplication of work. This 
program of decentralization was finally 
formalized on 24 April 1943 in an agree- 
ment signed by the Under Secretary of 
War and the chairman of the Smaller War 
Plants Corporation. By mid-summer of 
1943 the Smaller War Plants Corporation 
representatives in field offices had famil- 
iarized themselves with Army procure- 
ment methods to such an extent that few 
discussions were necessary in Washington. 
The relationship of the two agencies in the 
matter of spreading contracts to small 
plants continued on a very friendly basis 
to the end of the war. 62 

With the assistance of WPB officials, the 
ASF in the year of July 1944 to June 1945, 
awarded 25 percent of all contracts, meas^ 
ured in dollar value, to plants employing 
fewer than five hundred persons. 63 

62 This section is based largely on the ASF mono- 
graph, Purchasing Policies and Practices, prepared 
by the Purchases Division, ASF, pp. 106-09, Hist Rec, 
ASF. See also Hearings before the Special Committee to 
Study and Survey Problems of Small Business Enterprises , 
Senate, 77th Cong, 2d Sess, Testimony of Gen Somer- 
vell, 7 Dec 42, Pt. 11, p. 1479. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1945, p. 216. 



The production quarrels between the 
ASF and the WPB provided a good deal 
of excitement. In large part the difficulties 
could be traced to the personalities of Mr. 
Nelson and General Somervell. In Somer- 
vell's eyes Nelson was vacillating, appar- 
ently unable to understand the Army's 
point of view on military procurement, and 
inclined to listen to certain groups within 
the WPB staff who seemed sincerely to be- 
lieve that the Army was politically reac- 
tionary and must be kept in its place, war 
or no war. In Nelson's eyes, Somervell no 
doubt seemed to be a positive, inflexible, 
and even presumptuous individual, in- 
clined to tell Nelson how to run his own 
job. That the difficulties were largely those 
of personality is supported in part by the 
fact that neither Somervell nor his associ- 
ates had any similar clashes with Mr. 
Wilson or with other high officials in the 

One factor which made these personal 
relationships even more troublesome was 
Nelson's unwillingness or inability to keep 
his associates from reporting every issue to 
the press, usually in a garbled form. On 
one occasion, on 13 September 1942, 
Somervell addressed a memorandum to 
key ASF personnel deploring the "con- 
tinual airing in the public prints of the 
alleged controversy between the War Pro- 
duction Board and the War and Navy 
Departments." He added that "our per- 
sonal relations with Mr. Nelson are of the 
best," and warned against statements that 
might be "construed as criticism of the 
WPB. ..." Somervell ended with the re- 
mark that the "battle is being fought 
abroad and not in Washington" and that 
"Mr. Goebbels would pay millions of dol- 
lars to stir up dissension" among war agen- 
cies. 64 One thing Somervell and his staff 
did not do was to run to newspapermen 

with their side of any occasional difference 
with the WPB. For that very reason the 
Army point of view was seldom under- 
stood by the outside observer. 

In Somervell's eyes, moreover, the issues 
which arose were important, even vital, 
matters of procedure and policy, but he 
was not inclined to be personal about 
them. In fact a criticism which might jus- 
tifiably have been leveled against Somer- 
vell was that he thought too infrequently 
in personal terms, that he was insensitive 
to the impression made upon others by his 
own drive and positive beliefs. Somervell 
never had an inclination to make his dif- 
ferences with Nelson a purely personal 
matter; after any conflict he was ready 
and willing to sit down with him the next 
day to try and iron out any issue. It was 
apparently difficult for Mr. Nelson to un- 
derstand such an attitude. He was certain 
that Somervell's criticisms were personal. 
For this reason, after the "feasibility" dis- 
pute of October 1942, Somervell endeav- 
ored to remain in the background and 
leave all ASF relations with the WPB to 
Under Secretary Patterson and General 

In summary, the record of these ASF- 
WPB relationships seems to suggest first of 
all that the difficulties arose from funda- 
mental differences between the personali- 
ties of Nelson and Somervell. A second 
factor was the absence of a clear-cut un- 
derstanding of the respective roles of the 
military procurement agencies and the 
central economic control agency. From 
the ASF point of view it seemed clear that 
it was the WPB — or certain persons inside 
the WPB — who could not or would not 
understand the differences in the respon- 
sibility of each agency. 

64 Files, GG ASF. 


The ASF and Other Civilian 
Agencies Controlling 
Procurement Resources 

Throughout World War II differences 
between the War Department and the War 
Production Board attracted considerable 
public attention. Yet the WPB was by no 
means the only civilian agency controlling 
vital war production resources. There were 
several other emergency agencies as well. 
The Army Service Forces worked closely 
and amicably with them, avoiding the 
controversies that attended ASF- WPB 

As in its attitude toward the WPB, the 
ASF never suggested that any of these 
civilian agencies was unnecessary. On the 
contrary, it depended heavily upon each 
one for the performance of activities essen- 
tial to the procurement of war supplies. 
Naturally there were differences of opin- 
ion; but no controversies ever developed 
over basic issues such as "military control 
of the economy" or "civilian direction of 
military strategy." When differences arose, 
they were adjusted on the merits of the 
particular issue at hand. The civilian 
agencies and the ASF found a general for- 
mula for successful collaboration. In gen- 
eral, this was the same one which the ASF 
constantly urged upon the WPB, namely, 
that the ASF would control the final items 

of military production, while the civilian 
agencies would control primary economic 
resources and direct the distribution of an 
appropriate portion of these resources to 
military procurement. These amicable re- 
lationships are much less sensational than 
the storms and crises which marked efforts 
at collaboration with the WPB. They are 
none the less important. 

Research and Development 

On 28 June 1941 the President created 
the Office of Scientific Research and De- 
velopment to assure adequate provision 
for research on scientific and medical 
problems arising out of the war. This 
agency absorbed the National Defense Re- 
search Committee (NDRC) created by the 
President in June 1940. It was prepared to 
undertake any research projects desired by 
the armed forces as a contribution to the 
improvement and development of weap- 
ons. The committee operated mainly 
through contracts awarded to research 
institutions, both university and indus- 
trial. 1 

1 EO 8807, 28Jun 41. 



The OSRD frequently suggested new 
types of military equipment. A case in 
point is the development of the DUKW, 
an amphibian 2 '/2-ton truck, adopted by 
the Army for use in ship-to-shore opera- 
tions. 2 The variable time (proximity) fuze, 
which introduced a whole new element 
into antiaircraft and field artillery ammu- 
nition, was another product of research by 
the OSRD. 3 

When the Office of Scientific Research 
and Development was created, it also be- 
came the parent agency for a Committee 
on Medical Research. Within the ASF this 
committee maintained relations almost 
exclusively with The Surgeon General's 
office, co-operating on a variety of projects 
ranging from malaria control to the devel- 
opment of penicillin. 4 In this extensive col- 
laboration the two offices adhered to the 
pattern of medical research and practice 
which prevailed generally between doc- 
tors, hospitals, and research personnel. 
The work went on so smoothly that no 
major problems of medical research arose 
requiring General Somervell's interven- 

Perhaps the closest working relationship 
between the ASF and the OSRD grew out 
of the Manhattan project which produced 
the atomic bomb. The original interest in 
atomic fission as a possible military 
weapon came from a group of scientists 
who were formally organized as a ura- 
nium committee under the NDRC in 
June 1940. In November 1941 uranium 
research for military purposes was cen- 
tered in a special section of the Office of 
Scientific Research and Development. At 
the same time, Dr. Vannevar Bush of the 
OSRD recommended that the whole 
project should be transferred to the Army 
when the time came for building produc- 
tion plants. This transfer took place in 

August 1942 when the Manhattan 
District was created by the Chief of Engi- 
neers to begin construction activities. 5 
General Somervell had already designated 
his chief of staff, General Styer, to be his 
representative in the OSRD on atomic re- 
search. Thereafter General Styer followed 
developments of the project for Somervell, 
working very closely with Dr. Bush. 

The Manhattan District project was 
unique in that extensive basic research 
was still being conducted while produc- 
tion plants were being built and a military 
laboratory was being set up. Key person- 
nel were civilian scientists or engineers, 
working under the direction of Brig. Gen. 
Leslie R. Groves. The atomic bomb was 
eventually constructed at the Los Alamos 
Laboratory, forty-five miles from Santa 
Fe, and tested on the night of 16 July 1945 
at the Alamogordo Air Base in central 
New Mexico. An atomic bomb was 
dropped at Hiroshima on 6 August and 
another at Nagasaki on 9 August. The 
two-billion- dollar enterprise representing 
the joint efforts of scientists, industry, and 
the Army thus proved itself a great success. 

The creation of the National Defense 
Research Committee was necessary be- 
cause of the inadequate attention given to 
research activities by the armed forces be- 
tween World Wars I and II. At a time 
when military funds were meager at best, 
little money was spent on the development 
of new weapons. When large-scale pro- 
curement began in 1940, however, the 
various supply arms and services of the 

2 This story is summarized in James P. Baxter, 
Scientists Against Time (Boston, Little, Brown and 
Company, 1946), pp. 76-82, 248-51. 

:i Ibid., Ch. XV. 

4 Ibid., Chs. XX-XXIII. 

5 Annual Rpt of ASF, 19+5, Ch. I; Henry D. 
Smyth, Atomic Energy for Military Purposes (Princeton, 
N. J., Princeton University Press, 1946). 



Army were suddenly able to spend con- 
siderable sums on research projects. The 
NDRC existed primarily to help these 
procurement agencies in mobilizing scien- 
tific resources. 

There were two ways in which the 
NDRC assisted the technical services of 
the ASF. In the first place, it called atten- 
tion to promising work already done or 
being done in industry and universities in 
the development of new or improved 
weapons. In the second place, it made its 
services available to the procurement 
agencies requesting scientific assistance in 
solving technical problems encountered in 
meeting a military desire for new or im- 
proved equipment. Thus, for example, 
when the Army and the Navy both 
pointed out the need for better antiaircraft 
fire control devices, the NDRC led scien- 
tists in industry to develop electronic fire 
control systems. 

On occasion the proposal was made by 
both Army officers and scientists that the 
military laboratories should concentrate 
on applied research, that is, the develop- 
ment of new weapons and the improve- 
ment of existing weapons. The university 
laboratories, under guidance of OSRD, 
on the other hand, should concentrate on 
basic research for the advancement of 
scientific knowledge which might have 
future military usefulness. No such divid- 
ing line was ever feasible in practice. In 
the early period from 1940 to 1942 the 
procurement agencies, especially those 
which became the technical services of the 
ASF, were unable to enlarge their applied 
research and development activities on a 
broad scale and so the NDRC had to sup- 
plement their development work. Later, 
as the research and development pro- 
grams of the technical services expanded, 
some contracts made by the two operating 

units of the OSRD were turned over to 
them. But the OSRD was always avail- 
able to help the services on any research 
or development problem. From the rec- 
ords of the OSRD it seems evident that 
the closest working relationships with the 
NDRC, apart from the Manhattan proj- 
ect, were maintained by the Signal Corps 
and the Army Air Forces. The next largest 
agency of the Army utilizing NDRC as- 
sistance was the Ordnance Department. 6 
For the most part the technical services 
maintained direct relations with the 
NDRC and the Committee on Medical 
Research of the OSRD. 

After the creation of the ASF, an officer 
in that headquarters was designated War 
Department liaison officer with the 
OSRD. Between April 1942 and August 
1945 there were five such liaison officers. 
This was a rapid turnover which some 
charged hampered efficient collabora- 
tion. 7 But it may perhaps be said in 
Somervell's defense that he had consider- 
able difficulty in finding the right officer 
for the assignment. The liaison officer was 
primarily available to adjust any difficul- 
ties which might arise in the co-operative 
effort of the OSRD and the technical serv- 
ices. His assistance might be requested by 
the OSRD in attempting to overcome in- 
difference or even hostility on the part of 
a technical service to certain scientific un- 
dertakings. Or a technical service might 
occasionally need assistance in dealing 
with the OSRD. For the most part, how- 
ever, the technical services and the OSRD 
worked together harmoniously. The chief 
problem was an occasional reluctance 
within the technical services to consider 
scientific proposals. Usually this reluc- 

6 Irvin Stewart, Organizing Scientific Research for War 
(Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1948), p. 323. 

7 Ibid., p. 154. 



tance was overcome by pressure from Gen- 
eral Somervell's office or from the Office 
of the Secretary of War, which prevented 
major conflicts from arising to bedevil 
their relationships with the OSRD. 

The deputy director of the OSRD has 
commented that in the event of another 
war "there should be no need for another 
OSRD," adding that only in the event of 
a "large deficit of military research such as 
existed in 1940" would such an office have 
to be created. 8 Whether true or not, it is 
beyond question that in World War II the 
work of the OSRD was essential to the de- 
velopment of new and improved weapons. 

Before his departure in 1945 to join 
General MacArthur's command, General 
Styer wrote Dr. Bush a letter which re- 
vealed the attitude of top personnel in the 
ASF toward the OSRD. He said, in part: 
"My wandering through wonderland, 
while being led by your guiding hand, has 
been most enjoyable. My rubbing elbows 
with the men of science . . . has enlarged 
my realms of thought and keenly whetted 
my imagination. I hope that the associa- 
tion between science and the military can 
be continued by men of vision after the 
war." 9 

Special Handling of Food, Petroleum, Rubber 

Three commodities were given an ad- 
ministrative status apart from the War 
Production Board during World War II. 
These were food, rubber, and petroleum. 

In 1941 there existed a separate Office 
of Agricultural Defense Relations (later, 
Office of Agricultural War Relations), 
which had developed originally under the 
Advisory Commission to the Council of 
National Defense. Early in 1942 the WPB 
set up a Food Division. By a memoran- 
dum dated 4 June 1942, the WPB chair- 

man also established a Food Requirements 
Committee to handle allocations of food 
to various competing demands. The War 
Department was represented on this com- 
mittee. The Office of Agricultural War 
Relations was transferred to the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture in the summer of 
1942. Later, in December 1942 the Presi- 
dent concentrated all food and agricul- 
tural aspects of the war effort in the 
Department of Agriculture. 10 This order 
provided that the Secretary of Agriculture 
should assume full responsibility for the 
control of the nation's food resources and 
directed him to establish an advisory 
committee composed of representatives of 
the State, War, and Navy Departments, 
and other government agencies. He was to 
obtain estimates of food requirements from 
the members of this advisory committee 
and consult with the committee before 
making food allocations. 

The powers conferred upon the Secre- 
tary of Agriculture were later concen- 
trated in a War Food Administration 
established in March 1943. 11 This step, 
however, did not change the basic powers 
originally vested in the Secretary of Agri- 
culture nor did it affect the relationships 
in food administration between the War 
Department and the central food agency. 

The Quartermaster General of the 
Army Service Forces was appointed the 
War Department representative on the 
food advisory committee. Throughout the 
course of the war the association between 
him and the War Food Administration 
was harmonious. Military requirements 
were presented to the War Food Adminis- 

8 Ibid., p. 325. 

9 Ltr, Styer to Bush, 1 May 42, Hq ASF, CofS. 

10 EO 9280, 5 Dec 42. 

11 EO 9322,26 Mar 43. 



tration, which exerted every effort to meet 
those needs. Set-aside orders and alloca- 
tion orders were issued requiring canners, 
meat packers, and other food producers to 
earmark a certain portion of their output 
for military and other governmental pur- 
chase. Nothing in the arrangement dis- 
turbed the existing system of military pro- 
curement. Indeed, the War Food Admin- 
istration encouraged other governmental 
agencies to make such food purchases as 
they required through the Subsistence 
Division of the Quartermaster Corps. The 
Chicago Quartermaster Depot, primarily 
responsible for food procurement, became 
the center for most of the food purchasing 
operations of the federal government. A 
local office of the War Food Administra- 
tion was established there to work closely 
with Army officials. Since the Navy De- 
partment obtained more than 80 percent 
of its food requirements through the Army, 
the War Food Administration was eager to 
consolidate all food procurement through 
this single channel. Most purchases for the 
Treasury Procurement Division and cer- 
tain other government offices were also 
handled through Army machinery. 

No major difficulties arose in defining 
the respective roles of the two agencies. 
The War Food Administration recognized 
that it was the War Department's respon- 
sibility to purchase the foodstuffs required 
by it and to establish the specifications and 
packaging requirements. In turn, The 
Quartermaster General followed the rec- 
ommendations of the War Food Adminis- 
tration in timing food procurement and in 
spreading contracts among various pro- 
ducers. Food requirements were also 
modified from time to time to meet supply 
conditions. In 1944, for example, the 
Army reduced its allowance of butter by 
40 percent because of the shortage in this 

commodity. In short, it can be said that 
it would have been difficult, if not impos- 
sible, to have arranged for the orderly pro- 
curement of food needs without the exist- 
ence of the War Food Administration. 12 

On 28 May 1941 the President, in a 
letter to the Secretary of the Interior, an- 
nounced that he was designating him to be 
Petroleum Co-ordinator for National De- 
fense. From the outset, Secretary Harold 
Ickes sought the co-operation of the War 
Department in discharging his responsi- 
bilities. On 12 August 1941 for example, 
Mr. Ickes wrote to Secretary Stimson sug- 
gesting that the Army and Navy Muni- 
tions Board should have a permanent 
liaison officer with his organization, espe- 
cially to help in pushing projects for the 
expansion of petroleum production. 13 
Subsequently, in December 1942, the 
President issued an order establishing the 
Petroleum Administration for War, 
headed by the Secretary of the Interior 
serving ex officio. 14 The new administration 
became the center for handling all war- 
time petroleum problems. Mr. Ickes had 
earlier created a Petroleum Supply and 
Distribution Board for reviewing "the 
world-wide petroleum supply and trans- 
portation situation" and for planning "to 
insure adequate petroleum supplies when 
and where needed by the military forces 
and by war industry." Representatives of 

12 For a concise, general account of the War Food 
Administration, see "Food for War" in The United 
States at War: Development and Administration of the War 
Program by the Federal Government , prepared under the 
auspices of the Committee on Records of War Admin- 
istration by the War Records Section, Bureau of the 
Budget (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Of- 
fice, 1946), p. 321. (Hereafter cited as The UnitedStates 
at War.) 

13 Ltr, Ickes to Stimson, 12 Aug 41, Hq ASF, Petro- 

14 EO 9276, 2 Dec 42. 



the Army, Navy, and War Shipping Ad- 
ministration were invited to serve on this 
board. 15 

At the time the ASF was set up, Gen- 
eral Somervell had on his staff the officer 
who had previously been in charge of pe- 
troleum matters for the Under Secretary 
of War. This officer continued to function 
as before, but the main problems turned 
out to be not procurement of petroleum 
but its shipping and distribution. The ac- 
tual purchases of petroleum products 
within the Army, except for aviation gaso- 
line, were made by The Quartermaster 
General's office. An Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board was first established on 14 
July 1942 in a joint announcement signed 
by General Somervell and the Vice Chief 
of Naval Operations, Admiral Home. 
This board was responsible for effecting 
close co-operation between the two de- 
partments in petroleum procurement, 
shipment, and distribution. It also main- 
tained close relations with the Petroleum 
Administration for War. The Army- Navy 
Petroleum Board became an agency of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff and was thereafter the 
representative of the armed forces on all 
petroleum matters. 

The petroleum industry was so organ- 
ized in the United States that it was able, 
through existing storage and distribution 
channels, to meet all domestic military re- 
quirements. The Army-Navy Petroleum 
Board presented petroleum requirements 
to the Petroleum Administrator, who then 
made such adjustments in production and 
distribution practices as were necessary to 
meet these requirements. The Petroleum 
Administrator kept in close touch with the 
industry and knew at all times the exact 
status of petroleum stocks throughout the 
country. Frequently he requested the 
Army or the Navy to take delivery of pe- 

troleum at Galveston or some other point 
in order to relieve the burden on inland 
storage and distribution facilities. Had this 
not been done, refining in the southwest- 
ern part of the United States might have 
outrun storage and distribution capacities 
and have curtailed production. 

At one time Secretary Ickes was 
alarmed lest a letter of instruction sent out 
by General Somervell and Admiral Home 
on 16 December 1942 implied a desire on 
the part of the armed forces to ignore the 
Petroleum Administration for War. In a 
reply to his protest against the action, 
Secretary Stimson in February 1943 as- 
sured Ickes that the Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board realized that the Petroleum 
Administration for War was charged with 
responsibility for crude oil production and 
refining, pointed out that representatives 
of the board had co-operated whole- 
heartedly with Mr. Ickes' office, and as- 
sured him that this would continue. He 
explained that the December letter was in- 
tended to apply only to internal Army and 
Navy procedures. Secretary Stimson 
added: "I assure you that Army officers, 
who have occasion to handle petroleum 
matters, clearly understand the original 
order setting up the Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board, and the letter of 16 Decem- 
ber 1942. Therefore, you need have no 
fear that the prerogatives of your office will 
be usurped, either by the original direc- 
tive, or the letter of 16 December 1942." 
Secretary Stimson concluded by saying 
that a copy of his letter was being given to 
the Army-Navy Petroleum Board for its 
guidance. 16 Stimson's letter, drafted in 

15 Ltr, Ickes to Stimson, 4 May 42, Hq ASF, Petro- 

16 Ltr, Stimson to Ickes, 3 Feb 43, Hq ASF, Petro- 



Somervell's office, represented the official 
ASF point of view on co-operation with 
the Petroleum Administration for War. 

The attitude of the Petroleum Admin- 
istration at all times favored enabling the 
Army and Navy to obtain their require- 
ments with the least possible disruption of 
the industry's extraction, refining, and 
distribution activities. No serious jurisdic- 
tional disputes arose, and whenever a dis- 
agreement on policy or procedure arose, 
it was quickly adjusted between the Petro- 
leum Administrator and the Army-Navy 
Petroleum Board. The entire operation 
worked smoothly, and no great difficulties 
were encountered in obtaining the neces- 
sary petroleum supplies. There were some 
problems in developing refining capacity 
for aviation gasoline, but these were out- 
side the province of the ASF. 

In September 1942 the President or- 
dered new arrangements for the co-ordi- 
nation and control of the rubber pro- 
gram. 17 The order directed the chairman 
of the War Production Board to assume 
full responsibility for all phases of the rub- 
ber program including technical research. 
In addition, it provided for a Rubber 
Director to be appointed by and to be re- 
sponsible to the chairman of the WPB. 
The terms of the order were purposely 
broad in order to end current controversies 
over responsibility for developing all 
phases of the rubber program. One effect 
of the order was to establish virtually a 
separate organization, nominally tied to 
the WPB, but actually in full control of 
rubber activities. To carry out his mission, 
the Rubber Director appointed a Re- 
quirements Committee on which the ASF 
was represented and established a separate 
allocations system whereby the Army 
Service Forces was permitted to purchase 
stated quantities of rubber products. 

The most important rubber product 
bought by the ASF was tires. These were 
purchased directly to replace tires with 
which all vehicles were originally 
equipped. Army tire requirements contin- 
ually exceeded the rubber allocations 
available to it. Because of the critical 
nature of the items, the War Department 
inaugurated a tire conservation program, 
directed by the Chief of Ordnance, which 
extended throughout the entire Army 
both in the United States and overseas. 18 
The shortage did not disturb the amicable 
relationship which at all times existed be- 
tween the Army Service Forces and the 
Office of the Rubber Director. The only 
major difficulty that arose between the 
War Department and the Office of the 
Rubber Director concerned the division 
of equipment and raw materials between 
the synthetic rubber program and the 
aviation gasoline program. Under Secre- 
tary Patterson personally intervened to 
insist upon resolving this conflict. 

No difficulties were experienced in de- 
fining the respective authority of the ASF 
and the Rubber Director. The ASF recog- 
nized the need for an agency to control all 
phases of the rubber program and to di- 
rect the utilization of the limited rubber 
resources. At the same time, the procure- 
ment authority of the War Department 
was not questioned by the Office of the 
Rubber Director. Military requirements 
were carefully scrutinized, frequently 
questioned, and, as already mentioned, 
not always met. On the other hand, the 
Office of the Rubber Director conscien- 
tiously endeavored to help the ASF obtain 
its rubber quotas. 

17 EO 9246, 17 Sep 42. 

"Annual Rpt of ASF, 1944, p. 146; 1945, pp. 



WMC and Labor Relations 19 

As the armed forces of the United States 
in the last half of 1943 approached full 
mobilization, the problem of labor supply 
became increasingly bothersome to those 
responsible for military procurement. 
Originally the War Production Board had 
been given authority to handle the mo- 
bilization of manpower. A Labor Division 
was established for this purpose. In April 
1942, the President established a War 
Manpower Commission to consist of the 
Federal Security Administrator as chair- 
man and of representatives from the War, 
Navy, Agriculture, and Labor Depart- 
ments, the WPB, the Selective Service 
System, and the Civil Service Commis- 
sion. 20 After consultation with members of 
the commission, the chairman was author- 
ized to formulate plans and policies for the 
most effective utilization of the nation's 
manpower. In addition, the chairman was 
authorized to establish policies for federal 
agencies governing the recruitment, train- 
ing, and placement of workers in industry 
and agriculture, as well as within the fed- 
eral government itself. At first, Mr. G. H. 
Dorr, special assistant to the Secretary of 
War, was designated as War Department 
representative on the WMC. Subsequent- 
ly, the Under Secretary became the offi- 
cial War Department representative. 

The question of the size of the Army in 
relation to the total manpower of the 
country was settled early in 1 943 when the 
Chief of Staff set a ceiling for an Army of 
7.7 million men. The peak strength of the 
Army actually rose to almost 8.3 million 
men. The recruitment of labor to work in 
Army arsenals, depots, and ports, and in 
the plants of prime contractors was also a 
matter of continuing interest to the ASF. 
Only one important jurisdictional issue 

seems to have arisen between the War De- 
partment and the WMC. This involved 
the authority of the WMC to check actual 
labor utilization by War Department con- 
tractors. The War Department took the 
position that it should be responsible for 
the labor utilization of its prime contrac- 
tors and that it would take whatever steps 
were necessary to prevent labor hoarding 
by these manufacturers. The War Man- 
power Commission at one time contem- 
plated establishing a corps of investigators 
to check manpower utilization within 
plants. Following protests from the War 
Department, the WMC made no such in- 
vestigations at plants of Army prime con- 

The problem of labor supply was a 
many-sided one and at no time did it 
come solely within the purview of the 
WMC. The establishment of both WPB 
production urgency committees and 
WMC manpower priorities committees 
in critical labor areas illustrated the over- 
lapping concern. Production urgency was 
determined by the WPB, and the man- 
power priorities committees had almost no 
alternative but to channel labor in ac- 
cordance with these priorities. There is no 
need here to go into the question of 
whether the techniques of labor mobiliza- 
tion were adequate during World War II. 
The War Department contended that 
they were not, and while supporting the 
WMC in all its undertakings, it also 
pushed for more effective measures, in- 

19 This section is based on the annual reports of the 
ASF together with three statements which were espe- 
cially prepared by the Industrial Personnel Division 
pf the ASF. These are filed in OCMH. See also Jona- 
than Grossman, Industrial Manpower Problems and 
Policies of the War Department, a volume in prepara- 
tion for the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN 

20 EO 9139, 18 Apr 42. 



eluding national service legislation. The 
ASF found that in attempting to meet 
labor shortages which adversely affected 
war procurement, it had to work with a 
number of different agencies, including 
the War Production Board, the War Man- 
power Commission, the National War 
Labor Board, the Office of Price Admin- 
istration, the National Housing Agency, 
the Federal Works Agency, and the Of- 
fice of Defense Transportation. The large 
number of agencies involved was partly 
responsible for the delay in satisfying War 
Department requirements. 

When the War Department developed 
a team approach to labor problems in 
such specific industries as cotton duck, 
cotton tire cord, military tires, and forges 
and foundries, or in such specific areas as 
Newark, New Bedford, Seattle, and Los 
Angeles, the principal objection came 
from the WPB rather than from the 
WMC. Subsequently, both the WPB and 
the WMC favored a much broader pro- 
gram under War Department leadership 
in order to attack labor supply problems 
in the many different industries and local- 
ities. The War Department insisted that 
emergency measures should be taken only 
in a few specific cases and this point of 
view was eventually accepted as general 
governmental policy. 

One method of meeting the labor sup- 
ply problem was to avoid, insofar as pos- 
sible, the letting of contracts in labor 
shortage areas, in accordance with WPB 
Directive 2, issued as early as 19 October 
1942. This was not an entirely satisfactory 
device, since the most important consid- 
eration in awarding contracts was satis- 
factory quantitative, qualitative, and time 
performance in the delivery of war sup- 
plies. Moreover, the location of existing 
facilities determined for the most part 

where contracts might be let. In Decem- 
ber 1 942 the War Manpower Commission 
began to classify labor market areas as I, 
inadequate labor supply; II, anticipated 
inadequate labor supply; and III, ade- 
quate labor supply. This gave contracting 
officers a guide in the placement of con- 
tracts. Moreover, the ASF authorized pro- 
curement offices to pay premiums up to 15 
percent in order to place contracts in labor 
areas with surplus manpower. 

In September 1943 WPB Directive 2 
was amended to establish new criteria for 
the placement of contracts. Thereafter, 
among the other items to be considered 
were labor cost and efficiency of manufac- 
turers. The Army Service Forces then be- 
gan to establish techniques for measuring 
the labor utilization of contractors in an 
effort to guide both contract terminations 
and contract placement. As changes in 
war production occurred and it became 
possible to cancel certain contracts, an ef- 
fort was made to cancel first those con- 
tracts in labor shortage areas that were 
held by manufacturers whose relative 
number of man-hours per unit of output 
was higher than that of other producers 
in the same field. 

When the west coast manpower pro- 
gram was started in September 1943, the 
ASF agreed to avoid placing contracts 
there. In December of the same year the 
program was extended to include six other 
areas — Detroit, Akron, Hartford, Buffalo, 
Chicago, and Cleveland. Procurement 
regulations were amended so that the 
placement of additional contracts in these 
areas was limited. The ASF inspected the 
practices of the technical services to insure 
that procurement district offices were 
avoiding, tight labor market areas. In tak- 
ing these steps the ASF carried out its 
labor supply responsibilities in accordance 



with general policies fixed by the WPB 
and WMC. 

Closely related to the question of labor 
supply was the government's policy on 
labor relations and wage stabilization. 
These responsibilities were assigned to the 
National War Labor Board, created in 
January 1942. 21 The board considered it- 
self a service agency and accepted War 
Department opinion on the importance of 
various kinds of procurement. Minor fric- 
tion between the board and the Depart- 
ment arose out of certain internal security 
issues, but these were easily worked out. 
In one or two cases the War Department 
pressed for plant seizure when the board 
thought this unwise. In other cases, as in 
the Montgomery Ward dispute, the board 
insisted that the War Department take 
over even when the Department had no 
direct interest. Altogether there were 
twenty-five plant seizures during the war, 
jointly arranged by the National War 
Labor Board and the War Department. 
In thirteen of these cases, seizure resulted 
from labor's failure to comply with board 
directives; in twelve, it resulted from man- 
agement's refusal to comply. There was 
initial disagreement between the War 
Department and the board on only four 
of these seizures. 22 

Since wage questions were most likely 
to arise in connection with labor disputes, 
the enforcement of a national wage policy 
became a function of the National War 
Labor Board. At the same time, the board 
adopted the administrative arrangement 
of designating agents to enforce its broad 
policies within specific labor fields. Thus 
the Army Service Forces administered 
wage policies in construction at Army in- 
stallations, at government-owned, pri- 
vately operated (GOPO) plants, and also 
among maritime workers on transport and 

cargo vessels operated or chartered by the 
War Department. 

From time to time the National War 
Labor Board checked with ASF head- 
quarters and installations on the enforce- 
ment of these policies. In many cases, the 
War Department appeared before local 
panels established by the National War 
Labor Board or before the board itself to 
press for exceptions to the wage stabiliza- 
tion policy. At times, the labor members 
of the board criticized War Department 
handling of wage matters, principally at 
GOPO plants, as for instance on the ques- 
tion of whether certain jobs should be paid 
on the basis of construction or mainte- 
nance wages. These issues were amicably 
settled, and the War Department con- 
tinued to be the wage administration 
agency for all its plants and other installa- 
tions. Altogether the War Department 
presented about thirty-five cases during 
the war for unusual wage adjustments, 
and these were all approved in whole or 
in part. The War Department (which 
meant the ASF) and the National War 
Labor Board co-operated in noteworthy 
fashion during the entire period of their 

The ASF also served as War Depart- 
ment liaison with the Selective Service 
System in handling the problem of the in- 
dustrial impact of military drafts. The 
ASF presented deferment policy requests 
to national headquarters only after the 
most careful screening. After V-E Day the 
ASF withdrew many deferment requests, 
and got out of the field entirely after V-J 
Day, leaving the matter of deferments for 
direct negotiation between industry and 
the Selective Service System. In December 
1944 the Office of War Mobilization and 

21 EO 9017, 12 Jan 42. 

22 John Ohly, War Plant Seizures, MS, OCMH. 



Reconversion asked the War Department 
to draft men under 38 voluntarily leaving 
essential industrial employment, and with 
the help of the Selective Service System, 
the Army examined about 71,000 such 
persons, accepting over 12,000 of them. 23 
Relations between the ASF and the Selec- 
tive Service System also were of a friendly 
co-operative character. 

Price Control 24 

In April 1941 the President created the 
Office of Price Administration and Civil- 
ian Supply, combining two of the original 
divisions established under the Advisory 
Commission to the Council of National 
Defense. 23 The name was changed to Of- 
fice of Price Administration (OPA) in 
August 1941. Price control was placed on 
a statutory basis by the passage of a Price 
Control Act, and approved by the Presi- 
dent on 20 January 1942. 

During the debates over this legislation, 
the Secretary of War and the Secretary of 
the Navy addressed a joint letter to the 
President dated 19 December 1941 pro- 
posing an amendment to the bill about to 
be passed. The two secretaries pointed out 
that the Army and the Navy were respon- 
sible for the procurement of war supplies 
and that this obligation could not be dis- 
charged unless cases of conflict between 
combat needs and price considerations 
were decided by them. Both expressed full 
appreciation of the need for price stability 
and pledged the two departments to be 
"very sparing in negotiations above ceiling 
prices." The suggested amendment pro- 
vided that no regulation made under the 
act would apply to any sale to the War or 
Navy Department if the Secretary of War 
or the Secretary of the Navy certified to 
the Office of Price Control that this ex- 

emption was essential to the national de- 
fense. The next day the President replied 
that he could not approve the proposed 
amendment since it was absolutely im- 
perative that final authority be vested in 
one person. The Army and Navy would 
be expected to conform as well as every- 
body else. He suggested, however, that a 
permanent liaison officer be assigned to 
work with the Price Control Administra- 
tor and that final appeals be brought to 

From its creation in April until 1 1 May 
1942, the OPA directed a program of se- 
lective price control. Certain designated 
basic materials were placed under price 
ceilings in accordance with the theory that 
by controlling their price the general price 
level would not rise unduly. The early 
price schedules affected metals, building 
materials, industrial chemicals, and tex- 
tiles. In the autumn of 1941 some addi- 
tional items were brought under price 
control, as for example, semifabricated 
goods and machinery. 

On 24 April 1942 the approach 
changed when the OPA issued the Gen- 
eral Maximum Price Regulation covering 
prices at all levels for every commodity 
not otherwise covered by a separate OPA 
regulation. Effective 1 2 May this general 
regulation set the highest price charged in 
March 1942 as the top legal price for 
every kind of goods. It limited Army con- 
trol over the prices paid to its contractors 
at a time when the vast military procure- 
ment program was just getting well under 

23 For a more detailed study of the relationship of 
the ASF to Selective Service, see Albert A. Blum, De- 
ferment Problems and Policies of the War Depart- 
ment, MS, Columbia University, 1953. 

24 The material in this section has been condensed 
from Purchasing Policies and Practices, prepared by 
Purchases Division. ASF, pp. 194-227. 

25 EO 8734, 1 1 Apr 41. 



way. The new regulation upset the Army 
considerably. In the absence of any pre- 
vious manufacturing experience for such 
items as airplanes, tanks, guns, and am- 
munition, prices fluctuated greatly. The 
Army had promised contractors that 
where unit prices turned out to be too low, 
it would make adjustments. On 13 May 
1942, at the request of the War and Navy 
Departments, the OPA acknowledged the 
effects of its regulation by issuing Supple- 
mentary Regulation 4 exempting a large 
number of military items. This supple- 
mentary regulation, however, referred 
only to the General Maximum Price Reg- 
ulation. It did not affect specific maximum 
price regulations which might cover mate- 
rials or supplies of interest to the Army. 

Out of the discussions about the Gen- 
eral Maximum Price Regulation, a formal 
liaison arrangement developed between 
the War Department and the OPA. A 
Price Administration Branch was estab- 
lished injune 1942 in the Purchases Divi- 
sion, ASF, while the OPA in turn set up a 
War Goods Office the following October. 
The primary function assigned to the 
Price Administration Branch was the han- 
dling of all procurement matters involving 
the OPA. Discussions between the two 
agencies continued as individual price 
regulations brought additional items of 
military interest under price control. Thus 
the application of Maximum Price Regu- 
lation 136, covering gasoline, steam and 
diesel engines, pumps and compressors, 
and construction equipment, became a 
subject of mutual concern. 

A little later the OPA, as an anti-infla- 
tionary safeguard, indicated a desire to 
review the various military combat items 
exempted by Supplementary Regulation 4 
to the General Maximum Price Regula- 
tion. Deeply concerned over the effect this 

might have on the procurement program 
of the armed services, Under Secretary of 
War Patterson and Under Secretary of the 
Navy Forrestal addressed a lengthy mem- 
orandum to Mr. Henderson, the Price 
Administrator, on 23 July 1942, objecting 
to the imposition of price control in the 
field of military equipment. 26 The two 
Under Secretaries declared that they were 
"alive to the serious consequences of infla- 
tion" and that they heartily approved of 
the OPA's efforts to control prices. At the 
same time, they pointed out, they were re- 
sponsible for procuring vitally needed 
military supplies without delay. They then 
presented a number of reasons why they 
believed that prices of military goods 
should not be handled in the same manner 
as other price controls. In their opinion 
the prices of equipment for purely military 
purposes did not contribute directly to in- 
flation, since they did not create corre- 
sponding rises in the cost of living. Unduly 
large profits in any war industry, they 
argued, could be curtailed by renegotia- 
tion and excess profits taxes, and where 
large corporation incomes contributed to 
an increase in wages, effective wage stabi- 
lization would serve as a counterbalance. 

Since prewar production experience 
was lacking as a basis for determining fair 
prices, they went on to say, it seemed un- 
likely that any price formula could be de- 
vised which would be adequate under the 
circumstances. Moreover, to vest price 
control of military items in the OPA would 
necessarily supplant the Army and Navy 
in the negotiation of prices on their con- 
tracts. Whenever a potential contractor 
was unable or unwilling to produce at the 
maximum price fixed by an OPA formula, 

26 Memo, Patterson and Forrestal for Henderson, 
23 Jul 42, sub: Maximum Price Regulation of Mili- 
tary Equip, Purchases Div, ASF. 



he would have to apply to the OPA for 
adjustment. In such cases the OPA would 
have to substitute its judgment for that of 
the Army or Navy as to whether the pro- 
duction was necessary to the war effort 
and as to whether the proposed price 
should be granted. This would produce 
long delays in the delivery of vital supplies. 
The two Under Secretaries then repeated 
an earlier proposal that the OPA exempt 
any military article from price control 
upon certification by the Secretary of War 
or the Secretary of the Navy that the 
exemption was necessary for the prosecu- 
tion of the war. If this proposal was not 
satisfactory, they suggested that the same 
end would be accomplished by the OPA 
exemption of specific categories such as 
aircraft, military vehicles, and ordnance 
items. A suggested list was attached to the 
memorandum. They pointed out that the 
items had been limited to those which un- 
der OPA price regulation were impeding 
or threatening to impede military procure- 

Long discussions between officials of the 
OPA and the ASF followed this memo- 
randum from the two Under Secretaries. 
Finally, on 16 September 1942 Mr. Hen- 
derson put forth a counterproposal in a 
letter to the Under Secretary of War. In it 
he expressed doubt whether the dangers of 
inflation arising from high war contract 
prices could be prevented in the absence 
of strict price control. He feared that con- 
tracting officers, more concerned with 
procurement than prices, would have little 
incentive to reduce costs. He stated his 
position in these terms: "Unless prices and 
profits in the military goods area are con- 
trolled effectively, the entire program for 
avoiding inflation in this country will be 
threatened and perhaps undermined." He 
went on to acknowledge, however, that 

the questions at issue were complex and 
that there was room for disagreement and 
added that it made no difference who had 
the job of preventing inflation in the mili- 
tary goods area as long as it was accom- 
plished. He denied any "desire to engage 
in a jurisdictional dispute." 

Accordingly, the Price Administrator 
expressed his willingness to refrain from 
any further extension of maximum price 
control in the area of strictly military 
goods, if assured by the two departments 
that they would use all of their powers as 
effectively as possible to control both prices 
and profits in the exempted area. In an at- 
tempt to define their respective fields of 
control, Mr. Henderson said that the OPA 
would refrain from an extension of price 
control over the sales of commodities 
which were in such form that they could 
be used only for military purposes. The 
OPA, however, would control the prices 
of materials and commodities at a stage 
below the first emergence of an article in 
military form. To work out such a general 
line of demarkation, he designated one of 
his assistants. 

Additional conferences were held in an 
effort to define more precisely the controls 
to be exercised by each agency. In the case 
of a tank transmission, for example, the 
first sale of the rough casting came under 
OPA control, but subsequent operations 
were in the area reserved for military con- 
trol. All existing exemptions were frozen 
and the armed services agreed to request 
further exemptions only when actual diffi- 
culties arose. The OPA in turn made a 
similar commitment for military exemp- 
tions below the line of demarkation. The 
final agreement was formalized in a letter 
from Under Secretary Patterson and Un- 
der Secretary Forrestal on 14 October 
1942 and on 12 November an official press 



release was issued announcing the ar- 

It should be added that the War De- 
partment immediately followed up these 
discussions by holding a series of meetings 
at Tryon, North Carolina, on 3 1 October 
and 1 November 1942. From these meet- 
ings came a "statement of purchase poli- 
cies" dated 19 November 1942, in which 
the War Department principle was an- 
nounced that prices and the cost of war 
equipment should be kept at the lowest 
possible level as a means of encouraging 
efficiency in production and of conserving 
manpower and materials. This general 
principle was elaborated in other parts of 
the statement. Special care was taken to 
impress upon all contracting officers that 
they were not being exempted from price 
control, but rather that War Department 
price control was being substituted for 
OPA price control. A price index was be- 
gun as a means of measuring the effective- 
ness of each technical service in negotiating 
close prices in each field of procurement. 

From then on, many negotiations took 
place between the Purchases Division in 
ASF headquarters and the OPA on indi- 
vidual price problems. The general line of 
demarkation in price control worked out 
in September and October 1 942 was care- 
fully observed. As of 30 June 1945, it was 
estimated that approximately 65 percent 
of the dollar value on all War Department 
prime contracts was exempted from OPA 
price control. 

The most troublesome price problems 
developed thereafter in the textile and 
clothing field. Continued negotiations be- 
tween the two agencies finally produced a 
supplementary order on 9 March 1945 
which permitted the War Department to 
pay more than ceiling prices in certain 
agreed-upon instances. ASF headquarters 

kept all price regulations under constant 
study and reviewed proposed OPA price 
regulations and changes prior to their is- 
suance. Representatives from ASF head- 
quarters attended meetings of OPA indus- 
try advisory committees. While occasional 
differences of opinion and of policy be- 
tween the two agencies arose, they were 
always amicably settled. Beyond question 
OPA actions had a great effect upon War 
Department pricing, a fact which the De- 
partment readily acknowledged. By and 
large, however, the agreement contained 
in Mr. Henderson's letter of 16 September 
1 942 represented a workable and satisfac- 
tory division of authority. 

The rationing program of the OPA did 
not directly concern military supply except 
once when the OPA gave some considera- 
tion to developing a plan whereby the 
Army's rationed food requirements would 
be administered by the OPA. This idea 
was abandoned, however, in favor of 
exempting the armed forces from OPA 
food rationing. The Army purchased its 
foodstuffs through the Quartermaster 
Corps on an unlimited ration banking ac- 
count. The Quartermaster General estab- 
lished the necessary controls over organ- 
ized military messes in order to limit the 
amount of rationed food served each 
month. Other feeding facilities such as 
post exchanges, civilian messes, officers 
clubs, and service clubs received point 
allocations from local OPA war price and 
rationing boards on a civilian point basis. 
In January 1 945 a central procurement 
officer was established at each post to 
make all purchases of rationed foods. 

The OPA also exempted The Quarter- 
master General and the Army Exchange 
Service from the ration controls imposed 
on manufacturers of candies and soft 
drinks using sugar. The Quartermaster 



General received an unlimited ration bank 
account while the Army Exchange Service 
received an over-all allocation of these ra- 
tioned ingredients in a limited account. 
Quartermaster purchases were entirely for 
overseas shipment. 

In the sale of shoes the Army Exchange 
Service was placed in the same category 
as commercial shoe dealers. The OPA 
made the Army an issuing agent for shoe 
purchase certificates after approving the 
general terms on which the Army agreed 
to issue them. Voluntarily, the Army 
agreed to restrict its sale of shoes to officer 
personnel through Quartermaster outlets. 
In addition, enlisted personnel, under pre- 
scribed conditions, might obtain a certifi- 
cate for shoes other than those normally 
issued to them. Only the Army could issue 
shoe purchase certificates to military per- 
sonnel, thus preventing any attempt to 
obtain shoe certificates from local war 
price and rationing boards. 

Since gasoline and fuel oil for use in the 
United States were purchased through 
local suppliers, the Army and the OPA 
established an arrangement whereby the 
Army issued a special OPA form for buy- 
ing petroleum products for military use. 
This entitled the local supplier to replen- 
ishment by petroleum companies of his 
military sales. Some difficulties arose in 
this procedure and changes had to be 
made. The sale of gasoline to privately 
owned vehicles operated by military per- 
sonnel was placed under the same restric- 
tions as those governing civilians, and the 
same procedures were employed. 

The OPA sanctioned many local ar- 
rangements whereby Army installations 
established their own war price and ra- 
tioning boards, issuing ration coupons in 
accordance with the general standards set 
up by the OPA. This was done not only 

for gasoline but also for tires, stoves, and 
automobiles. These arrangements likewise 
worked satisfactorily. Necessarily, the War 
Department and the OPA had to work to- 
gether closely in administering both price 
and rationing controls. 

Housing and Community Facilities 

One major omission of the Industrial 
Mobilization Plan as published before 
World War II was any reference to the 
possibility of labor shortages aggravated 
by a lack of housing and other community 
facilities in the vicinity of war plants. 
There were a number of different federal 
agencies responsible for handling relations 
with local governments in this field. Direc- 
tion of public housing activities early in 
1941 was placed under a Division of De- 
fense Housing Co-ordination which was 
established by the President. 27 This agency 
gave way to a National Housing Agency 
in February 1942. 28 An Office of Defense 
Health and Welfare Services was also es- 
tablished to handle local health and wel- 
fare requirements. 29 This office was even- 
tually absorbed by the Federal Security 
Agency. In addition, the Federal Works 
Administration was involved in the mak- 
ing of grants for roads and for other public 
facilities. The Office of Defense Transpor- 
tation had general supervision of local 
transportation facilities. 

As already mentioned, in 1942 the Army 
Service Forces pressed the WPB through 
its regional offices to take the lead in co- 
ordinating all federal services dealing with 
community facilities problems. Later the 
President established a Committee for 

27 E0 8632, 11 Jan 41. 

28 EO 9070, 24 Feb 42. 

29 EO 8890, 3 Sep 41. 



Congested Production Areas. 30 This com- 
mittee had as its chairman the director of 
the Bureau of the Budget, and as mem- 
bers, the Under Secretary of War, the Un- 
der Secretary of the Navy, the chairman 
of the War Production Board, the admin- 
istrator of the Federal Works Agency, the 
administrator of the National Housing 
Agency, and the chairman of the War 
Manpower Commission. The committee 
handled the co-ordination of federal activ- 
ities affecting some eighteen different con- 
gested areas in the United States. The 
principal role of the ASF in the work of 
this committee was simply to indicate the 
areas in which war procurement was being 
seriously hampered by inadequate com- 
munity facilities and services. Thereafter, 
the committee made sure that various 
agencies of the federal government concen- 
trated upon the solution of the problems 
in these particular areas. The Army also 
worked with the committee in an effort to 
relieve its own burden upon the local area 
as far as possible. It was no part of the job 
of the ASF or of the War Department to 
handle the problems of community facili- 
ties. Yet it was the impact of war procure- 
ment which produced most of the local 
difficulties. The device of a committee for 
congested production areas was a neces- 
sary expedient in World War II because of 
the many agencies involved and because 
of the absence of any integrated govern- 
ment machinery for dealing with local 

The Office of War Mobilization 

In May 1943 President Roosevelt cre- 
ated one of the most important of the 
emergency war agencies, the Office of War 
Mobilization. As has been stated, former 
Justice James F. Byrnes was appointed as 

its head. 31 In part the office was created 
because of a general feeling that too many 
different agencies existed that were only 
loosely co-operating in the task of control- 
ling the use of the nation's economic 
resources. The executive order directed 
the office "to develop unified programs 
and to establish policies for the maximum 
use of the nation's natural and industrial 
resources for military and civilian needs" 
and "to unify the activities of federal agen- 
cies and departments engaged in or con- 
cerned with production, procurement, 
distribution or transportation of military 
or civilian supplies, materials, and prod- 
ucts, and to resolve and determine con- 
troversies between such agencies or 

Manpower problems at the time were 
looming more and more as the chief indus- 
trial bottleneck. To break it an attack had 
to be made on several fronts. At the behest 
of the Office of War Mobilization, the 
War Department in July 1943 arranged to 
release soldiers who had previously worked 
in the nonferrous metal mining industry. 
The office also helped the WPB and the 
War Manpower Commission in setting up 
a program for fixing labor priorities in 
congested areas. Later, in October five 
production urgency committees were set 
up on the west coast where a labor situa- 
tion existed in the aircraft industry that 
was of grave concern to the Army Air 

In the autumn of 1943 the Office of 
War Mobilization became particularly 
interested in certain postwar problems, 
and officers from ASF headquarters con- 
tributed substantially to the work which 
eventuated in the Baruch-Hancock Report 
on War and Post- War Adjustment Policy of 15 

30 EO 9326, 7 Apr 43. 

31 E0 9347, 27 May 43. 



February 1944. This collaboration con- 
tinued until the passage of the Contract 
Settlement Act of 1 July 1944 and the 
Surplus Property Act of 3 October 1944. 

The Contract Settlement Act provided 
for a Director of Contract Settlement, who 
later became a part of the Office of War 
Mobilization and Reconversion. Relations 
between the ASF and this office were very 
close. As a result, the ASF continued to 
play a major part in developing policies 
and procedures for contract termination. 
Although the Surplus Property Act estab- 
lished broad policies on the disposal of 
surplus property, it did not change prac- 
tices already put into effect by the Office 
of War Mobilization. The War Depart- 
ment retained full authority to decide 
when property was surplus. The actual 
disposition of the property was handled by 
the Reconstruction Finance Corporation 
(RFC) or the Department of Commerce, 
two of the designated disposal agencies. 
Later the RFC and then the War Assets 
Administration became the sole disposal 
agency. The only problem arising in this 
relationship was one of storage space for 
surplus property. From the War Depart- 
ment's point of view the ideal relationship 
would have been one which permitted the 
immediate transfer of surplus property to 
the physical custody of the disposal agency 
until its actual sale. A general shortage of 
storage space, however, prevented such 
an arrangement. Moreover, the disposal 
agencies, for reasons of their own conven- 
ience and because of the availability of 
Army storage facilities, preferred to leave 
surplus property with the Army until ac- 
tual sale had been arranged. The Army 
Service Forces co-operated with the RFC 
in setting up storage facilities for surplus 
industrial property which was moved out 
of plants. The ASF held other property 

until the disposal agencies could arrange 
for its disposition. Although the ASF at 
times felt that the disposal agencies moved 
too slowly, it had no desire whatsoever to 
take over the function. 

It was not until the summer of 1944, 
during the controversy over Mr. Nelson's 
reconversion program, that the ASF was 
disposed to make a definite appeal for in- 
tervention by Byrnes in a dispute with a 
civilian agency. It was then that Mr. 
Byrnes indicated his sympathy with the 
ASF point of view. Shortly after this con- 
troversy Congress passed legislation giving 
Byrnes' office a statutory base and renam- 
ing it the Office of War Mobilization and 
Reconversion. 32 Byrnes, in need of an ex- 
panded staff, asked Somervell to release 
General Clay to him. This Somervell did, 
but the action was probably a mistake. 

General Somervell definitely did not 
suggest to Justice Byrnes that he should 
use Clay as his principal assistant on pro- 
duction matters. General Clay had repre- 
sented Somervell in the WPB Production 
Executive Committee since early 1943, 
and otherwise had carried the main bur- 
den of procurement operations while Gen- 
eral Somervell was giving his attention to 
other ASF problems. Clay's presence in 
OWMR was regarded in many places, 
certainly by many persons in WPB, as the 
final proof of military control of the econ- 
omy. When General Somervell began to 
realize that this was an unfortunate ar- 
rangement, he supported Clay's reassign- 
ment to the European Theater of 

The official history of the WPB has 
commented: "Clay had been a vigorous 
opponent of any substantial reconversion 

32 Public Law 458, 78th Cong, 1st Sess, approved 
3 Oct 44. 



action and his transference to a key role in 
the administration of occupied Germany 
was probably not without its effect in lift- 
ing the lid from reconversion activity in 
the United States." 33 

Civil-military relations on production 
matters were undoubtedly somewhat com- 
plicated in the autumn of 1944 and the 
spring of 1945 by General Clay's partici- 
pation in OWMR. Had there been any 
serious controversies between the ASF and 
WPB in this period, the situation might 
have proved embarrassing. But Clay's 
own good sense and Mr. Krug's attitude of 
co-operation with the armed services 
prevented any real difficulty. 

From the ASF point of view, the 
OWMR was always helpful, and its activ- 

ities were considered a necessary part of 
the government's wartime administrative 

With the many civilian agencies other 
than the War Production Board, the ASF 
developed close working relationships 
without recriminations or ideological con- 
troversy. This experience demonstrated 
that the ASF could co-operate with civil- 
ian agencies. Even where responsibilities 
seemed to overlap, the ASF and the civil- 
ian agencies worked out lines of demarca- 
tion which apparently were satisfactory to 
both and conducive to the efficient mobili- 
zation of the nation's economic resources. 

33 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 863. 


The ASF and Civilian 
Agencies Concerned With 
Military Supply and Defense 

Among other wartime civilian organ- 
izations, the federal government created 
emergency agencies to handle certain 
matters closely related to direct military 
operations. The Army Service Forces 
worked primarily with four such agencies: 
the War Shipping Administration, the 
Office of Defense Transportation, the 
Office of Lend-Lease Administration 
(later the Foreign Economic Administra- 
tion), and the Civilian Defense Adminis- 
tration. The only generalization to be 
made about ASF relationships with these 
groups is that they raised few basic ques- 
tions. Since these civilian agencies were 
performing duties more closely concerned 
with military operations, in some ways the 
collaboration required here was of a more 
delicate character than that required for 
procurement matters. But in spite of the 
fact that problems vital to military 
strategy were sometimes involved in these 
relationships, they were satisfactorily 
worked out. 

Ocean Transportation 

In 1941 the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans 
were for America mighty zones of defense. 

These zones, however, had to be crossed in 
aiding our allies and in attacking our foes. 
Naval and aerial domination of the sea 
lanes became an indispensable element of 
strategy. Also necessary was the construc- 
tion and maintenance of sufficient ship- 
ping to carry supplies to overseas theaters. 
Nothing devours as much as global war- 
fare. General Somervell was among the 
first to impress this point upon military 
and political leaders. He actively partic- 
ipated in the initial shipping planning. 1 
In June 1942 he warned that the subma- 
rine menace threatened "failure of our 
war effort." 2 In March 1943 he reported 
to General Marshall that the chances for 
an effective offensive in 1943 and 1944 
were "measured almost entirely by the 
shipping which can be made available for 
military operations." 3 And in November 
1943 Somervell told a Senate subcommit- 

1 Ltr, Somervell to Admiral Emory S. Land, 3 1 Jan 
42, G-4/29717-1 16; Draft of Memo for President for 
Marshall's signature, Hq ASF, Shipping 1941-43, 
Somervell file. Material otherwise not documented is 
taken chiefly from Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: 
Responsibilities, Organization, and Operations. 

2 Memo for CofS, 18Jun 42, OCT 569.14 Losses. 

3 Memo, 25 Mar 43, sub: Proposed Allocation of 
U.S. Shipping, Hq ASF, CofS 1942-43. 



tee, "We can never have more ships than 
are needed for all-out offensive warfare." 4 

The solution to the shipping problem 
was threefold: to build new ships, to curb 
sinkings, and to use available vessels effi- 
ciently. A record-breaking construction 
program between 1942 and 1945 pro- 
duced more than five thousand ocean- 
going vessels totaling fifty-three million 
dead-weight tons. 5 Building new ships, 
however, was like pouring water into a 
leaky barrel unless losses to enemy sub- 
marines and planes could be checked. In 
the early days of the war, sinkings created 
a critical situation. But antisubmarine 
measures cut losses from twelve million 
dead-weight tons in 1942 to two million in 
1944." General Somervell, just as inter- 
ested in the effort to curb submarine losses 
as in new construction, received regular 
reports, studied them carefully, and did 
not hesitate to make suggestions for meet- 
ing the menace to the proper agencies. But 
of more immediate concern to him was the 
proper use of available shipping space, 
and its allocation among the various agen- 
cies requiring ships. 

At the beginning of World War II, both 
the construction and management of the 
merchant marine were in the hands of the 
United States Maritime Commission. In 
February 1941 the commission set up a 
Division of Emergency Shipping which 
planned to control the use of American 
vessels to meet defense requirements. 7 In 
this way the United States had made a 
start in the problem of dealing with the 
shipping shortage. After 7 December 1941 
however, American shipping capacity was 
squeezed to the limit. As G-4 of the War 
Department General Staff, Somervell was 
immediately confronted with the effect of 
the shortage of ships on Army supply and 
troop movements. Both he and his adviser 

on transportation, Colonel Gross, imme- 
diately went to work on the problem. 
They recognized the urgent need for an 
agency, under civilian domination, to 
control the use of all merchant marine re- 
sources. Somervell wished, however, to 
hedge its powers with specific limitations, 
to insure the primacy of strategic interests. 
This led him to draft an executive order to 
create a central agency which he cleared 
through the War Department and then 
took to the White House for the attention 
of Mr. Harry Hopkins. 8 

Of course, there were others besides 
Somervell who at the same time were urg- 
ing such an agency. In any event, on 7 
February 1942 the President, following 
the suggestion of his advisers, established a 
War Shipping Administration. By and 
large, the limitations with which General 
Somervell wished to circumscribe the new 
agency were omitted and broad powers 
were granted to the administrator. In es- 
sence, the civilian WSA held final and ex- 
clusive power over shipping allocations, 
subject to a vague qualification that the 
administrator would "comply" with stra- 
tegic and military requirements. 9 Despite 
the fact that his suggested limitation on 
the authority of the agency was not 
adopted, General Somervell achieved his 

4 War Mobilization, rpt of Subcom to Com on Mili- 
tary Affairs, Senate, 78th Cong, 1st Sess, 7 Oct 43, 
Subcom Rpt 3, pp. 3-5. 

5 United States Maritime Commission Official Construc- 
tion Record, Vessels Delivered 1939-45 {No. 106) (Wash- 
ington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946). 

s Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, 
Organization and Operations , pp. 1 49-5 1 . 

7 Col Marcus B. Stokes, Jr., Shipping in War, p. 5, 
Planning Div, OCT, Mar 46. 

8 Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global War- 
fare, 1941-1943, Ch. IX, contains a penetrating 
analysis of the Gross-Somervell plan. 

8 Memo, Gross for Somervell, Jan 43, Hq ASF, 
Shipping 1941-43, Somervell File, contains summary 
of controversy. 



main objective, a unified and centrally di- 
rected program for the allocation of ships. 
Admiral Emory S. Land, chairman of the 
Maritime Commission, was appointed 
also to be War Shipping Administrator. 
But the two organizations functioned sep- 
arately: the Maritime Commission di- 
rected shipbuilding, and the WSA 
assumed operating control over vessels. 10 

The Maritime Commission based its 
construction program upon estimates pre- 
sented by interested agencies. The Chief 
of Transportation in the ASF listed Army 
needs for a year in advance, the Navy sub- 
mitted its requirements for merchant-type 
vessels, the Army-Navy Petroleum Board 
worked out tanker needs, and the Joint 
Staff Planners of the JCS decided on the 
necessary number of combat loaders. 
Cargo space for lend-lease and commer- 
cial uses was determined by the War Ship- 
ping Administration. The Maritime 
Commission took all estimates and ad- 
justed them to fit existing and anticipated 
shipbuilding facilities. Its plans were then 
studied by appropriate joint committees 
and reviewed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 
Unresolved disagreements between the 
Maritime Commission and the JCS might 
be decided by the President. Although 
carried on by a civilian agency, the ship- 
building program was essentially a mili- 
tary program, and the military interest 
predominated. As needs varied with the 
fortunes of war, adjustments in the ship 
construction program were made to meet 
demands. General Somervell occasionally 
intervened in the shipbuilding program to 
urge an increase in production to meet 
anticipated Army needs. 11 

In the field of small boat construction, 
the Army, Navy, and Maritime Commis- 
sion each had its own program. The Army 
Transportation Corps purchased harbor 

craft and other vessels under one thousand 
gross tons or less than two hundred feet in 
length. It worked out informal agreements 
with groups interested in small boats on 
the apportionment of construction facil- 
ities among various contractors. By and 
large the Transportation Corps and the 
Maritime Commission experienced little 
difficulty in working together. The com- 
mission was usually happy to give the 
Army the type and tonnage of new con- 
struction it desired. Ship utilization, 
naturally, was closely intertwined with 
ship construction. Proper use of existing 
cargo space cut down the need for new 
ships. Idle tonnage was no more useful 
than tonnage not built. 

The administrator of the WSA directed 
the operation, purchase, charter, requisi- 
tion, and use of all American-controlled 
ocean-going vessels except combat vessels 
and transports of the Army and Navy, and 
coastwise traffic under the control of the 
Office of Defense Transportation. The ad- 
ministrator also allocated United States 
ships for use by the Army, Navy, other 
federal agencies, and governments of the 
United Nations. In addition, he repre- 
sented the United States in dealing with 
the British Ministry of War Transport, 
kept current data on shipping, and in- 
formed the President on the shipping 
situation. He also collaborated with all 
military and civilian agencies performing 
wartime functions connected with overseas 

After the creation of the War Shipping 
Administration, Somervell negotiated an 
understanding with the new agency on 
operating relationships in the use of ships. 
The Navy had previously made an agree- 

10 EO 9054, 7 Feb 42; EO 9244, 16 Sep 42. 

11 Ltr, Somervell to Land, 5 Aug 42, Hq ASF, Ship- 
ping 1941-43, Somervell File. 



ment with the WSA, and General Somer- 
vell, on behalf of the Army, worked out a 
similar arrangement with Mr. Lewis W. 
Douglas, deputy administrator of the ship- 
ping agency. A modus operandi was signed 
on 13 June 1942. 12 This agreement pro- 
vided that the Army Transportation 
Corps would operate vessels owned by the 
War Department but would keep the 
WSA fully informed on the use of this ton- 
nage. Since Army-owned ships would 
barely begin to meet Army needs, the 
WSA was to assign to the Army the addi- 
tional ocean-going vessels it required. 
These ships would be allotted on a voyage 
basis, and on the home trip, unless other- 
wise arranged, they would revert to the 
control of the WSA. Overseas command- 
ers were permitted to retain cargo vessels 
in their own service if military emergen- 
cies demanded. The Army and the WSA 
also agreed to exchange information and 
maintain the closest possible liaison, both 
in Washington and at ports of embarka- 
tion. Each organization would furnish the 
other full information for planning the 
best possible use of ships. Finally, the two 
agencies agreed that each had no desire to 
absorb or control the functions of the 

The agreement settled a threatened 
jurisdictional dispute between the Army 
Transportation Corps of the ASF and the 
WSA. In essence, General Somervell, and 
his chief of transportation, General Gross, 
accepted civilian control over the United 
States merchant shipping pool. But once 
ships had been allocated to it, the Army 
wished full authority over its share. The 
ASF accepted the 13 June modus operandi 
and Somervell, in transmitting a copy of 
the agreement to Mr. Harry Hopkins, 
wrote that it was "eminently satisfac- 
tory." 13 It is doubtful, however, whether 

the Transportation Corps was really fully 
satisfied by the agreement. General Gross, 
writing on another proposal involving 
civilian control over Army cargo in a war 
theater, suggested that Marshall telegraph 
General Eisenhower: "I cannot endorse 
your proposal to share responsibility in so 
important a matter as the control of ship- 
ping in an active theater of operation with 
a cumbersome board operated by a civil- 
ian head. ... I know of no function of 
your Chief of Transportation more im- 
portant than those you seek to delegate 
elsewhere. . . ." 14 Colonel J. H. Graham, 
a trusted confidant and adviser to Somer- 
vell in World War II, in a memo which 
probably reflected the opinion of a good 
many transportation officers, wrote can- 
didly of the Somervell-Douglas agree- 
ment: "That will serve for a while, two to 
four months, and will probably be the 
germ of something better." 15 

But it was the War Shipping Adminis- 
tration which struck the first blow against 
the modus operandi. Mr. Lewis Douglas was 
even less satisfied with the arrangement 
that General Somervell's transportation 
advisers had negotiated. He thought in 
terms of complete WSA authority over 
cargo space. True, the WSA had the 
power to divide shipping among claimant 
agencies. But after these agencies had re- 
ceived their shares, Mr. Douglas was not 
inclined to relinquish authority. He 

12 Memo, Somervell and Douglas, 13 Jun 42, sub: 
Memo Covering the Interdepartmental Relations Be- 
tween the Army and the WSA To Form a Basis for 
Full and Complete Co-operation in Connection With 
the Purchase, Charter, Use, and Operation of Vessels 
and Terminal Facilities, Hq ASF, WSA. 

13 Memo, Somervell for Hopkins, 14 Jun 42, Hq 

14 Memo, Gross for Somervell, Hq ASF, Trans SOS 
1941-43, Somervell File. 

15 Memo, Graham for Somervell, about 30 Jun 42, 
Hq ASF, Trans SOS 1941-43, Somervell File. 



wished to remodel the WSA along the 
lines of the British Ministry of War Trans- 
port, at least insofar as that organization 
combined the operation of civilian and 
military shipping in a single agency. 

About six weeks after the signing of the 
agreement, top level American and British 
officials, including Prime Minister Win- 
ston Churchill, met to discuss shipping for 
Bolero. In the course of the discussions 
Churchill inquired why the American 
Army in the United Kingdom needed 
fourteen million tons of shipping while 
twenty-five million sufficed for the entire 
British Isles. Of more specific concern to 
the ASF, however, was the fact that offi- 
cials of the WSA at the conference chal- 
lenged General Gross's shipping figures for 
Bolero, and someone, possibly Mr. 
Douglas, stated that the Army was wast- 
ing cargo space because of improper load- 
ing. 16 Mr. Douglas argued that savings in 
cargo space could be made by unified 
planning. "Dear Bill," he wrote to Gen- 
eral Somervell on 9 October 1942, "I am 
enclosing herewith a memorandum on 
combined planning for cargo ships." He 
then spelled out proposed savings by com- 
bining WSA, Army, and other cargoes, 
giving specific and detailed examples of 
waste arising from the absence of such 
combination. 17 The ASF did not react 
kindly to the Douglas proposals, and Gen- 
eral Gross presented studies refuting the 
charges of waste. 18 

In the midst of this mild disagreement 
the War Shipping Administration loosed a 
torpedo when on 18 December 1942 Ad- 
miral Land and Mr. Douglas obtained 
from President Roosevelt a memorandum 
saying, in effect, that except for task forces 
or assault forces, the WSA should load 
overseas military supplies provided by the 
Army. Admiral Land enclosed the direc- 

tive in a letter to Secretary of War Stim- 
son. 19 Secretary Stimson retorted: "I must 
express my surprise that a matter which 
so obviously affects the interest of the 
Army should be initiated without anyone 
in authority from this Department having 
an opportunity to state his views either to 
the Budget or the President. . . ." The 
battle was joined. Secretary Stimson post- 
poned designating Army representatives 
to confer with the WSA. 20 

Somervell and General Gross were the 
driving forces behind the Army opposi- 
tion. On the day before Christmas, Somer- 
vell forwarded, for Admiral Leahy's sig- 
nature, a memorandum to the President. 
This memorandum protested the directive 
of 18 December because it destroyed "the 
authority of the armed forces over the 
movement of supplies essential to their 
success." If Army port facilities were to be 
used for loading only combat task forces 
going overseas, these facilities would be 
only partly and hence wastefully used. 
The Army moreover, they argued, was 
better able than commercial loaders to 
make rapid adjustments in cargo to meet 
battle needs. Under the proposed arrange- 
ment, military cargo might be badly scat- 
tered and even lost. The memo implied 
that the Transportation Corps was the best 
agency for "marrying" cargo and seeing 
that it arrived at the correct destination. 21 

16 Memo for Gross, 26 Jul 42, Hq ASF, Shipping 

17 Ltr and Memo, Douglas to Somervell, 9 Oct 42, 
Hq ASF, Shipping 1941-43. 

18 Memo, Gross for Somervell, 21 Oct 42, Hq ASF, 
Shipping 1941-43. 

19 Ltr, Land to Stimson, 18 Dec 42; Memo, Roose- 
velt for Land, 18 Dec 42. Both in OCT, HB, Gross 

20 Ltr, Stimson to Land, 23 Dec 42, Hq ASF, Ship- 
ping 1941-43. 

21 Memo for President, prepared 24 Dec 42, signed 
by Leahy for JCS on 6 Jan 43, Hq ASF, Somervell 



On 31 December 1942 Mr. Douglas 
proposed a compromise whereby military 
technicians would be on hand whenever 
WSA operators loaded Army cargo. Ad- 
miral Leahy seemed interested in the sug- 
gestion, but General Gross bridled at the 
very thought of divided responsibility. 
Somervell thereupon explained to Ad- 
miral Leahy the need to protest in writing 
to the President. In a memo he stated that 
the executive order setting up the WSA 
provided for "collaboration" with the 
Army on vessels "for use by the Army." 
Accordingly, he argued, Mr. Douglas was 
exceeding the authority of this order. The 
larger issue, however, General Somervell 
pointed out, was whether the chiefs of staff 
"shall determine the strategic employ- 
ment of shipping in its over-all relation to 
military operations ... or whether the 
War Shipping Administration shall deter- 
mine the disposal of shipping on the stra- 
tegic basis and inform the Chiefs of Staff 
what shipping they may have available 
for military purposes." 22 

Admiral Leahy signed the memoran- 
dum of protest on 6 January. In it the 
President was requested to rescind his di- 
rective and confirm the authority of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff over the "means of 
transporting supplies and troops over- 
seas." Shortly thereafter, General Mar- 
shall, who had become interested in the 
issue, wrote Mr. Douglas a personal letter 
in which he stated that the WSA was try- 
ing to change established procedures, and 
that the Army had drawn from civilian 
life a group of shipping experts who were 
competent to do the work. The Army, he 
implied, seemed to be doing a good ship- 
ping job, and the procedure of the WSA 
in this case could serve no other purpose 
than cause difficulty and animosity. 23 At 
the same time, Secretary of War Stimson 

advised Admiral Land that the contro- 
versy had been placed in the hands of the 
President. The opposition to Mr. Douglas' 
proposal was too formidable. He therefore 
yielded gracefully, protesting that he had 
no desire to interfere in strategic matters. 
While the President did not rescind his di- 
rective, it was not enforced, so it can be 
said that the ASF had won its defensive 
jurisdictional battle. Both sides thereafter 
scrupulously observed the modus operandi of 
13 June 1942. 

In a sense the whole affair had been un- 
necessary. General Gross had always been 
interested in full loading, and had sever- 
al pet projects for combining heavy bot- 
tom cargo such as steel for Britain with 
space-consuming balloon cargo such as 
assembled motor vehicles. Although the 
Army Transportation Corps made some 
mistakes, it had usually loaded as effi- 
ciently as military exigencies allowed. 
With the spotlight of controversy on this 
issue, there was perhaps an even greater 
effort to balance compact heavy cargo 
with bulky balloon cargo. Most Army ves- 
sels left port, loaded "full and down." 24 

For some time after this conflict all was 
quiet on the ASF-WSA front. General 
Somervell and Mr. Douglas continued to 
write their "Dear Lew" and "Dear Bill" 
letters, and the agencies worked in har- 
mony, During 1944 a mild flurry broke 
the calm. In November Admiral Land 
protested to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that 

28 Memo, Somervell for Leahy, 2 Jan 43, Hq ASF, 
Somervell File. 

23 Ltr. Marshall to Douglas, 8 Jan 43, AG 334.8, 

21 Memo for Somervell, 9 Apr 43, sub: Army Ship- 
ping Situation, Hq ASF, Shipping 1941-43; Memo, 
Gross to Somervell, 22 Oct 42, sub: Memo from 
Douglas, Hq ASF, Shipping, Somervell File; Rpt, 
about 9 Apr 45, title: Data on Shipping Situation, Hq 
ASF, Shipping, Somervell File. 



the retention of a large number of vessels 
in the European Theater of Operations if 
continued would cause a severe shipping 
shortage. A bad situation had developed 
slowly, almost imperceptibly. The theater 
had called for more supplies than could be 
discharged. Overseas ports were clogged, 
stevedoring equipment was inadequate, 
and ships were being held offshore as float- 
ing warehouses. The backlog of ships grad- 
ually piled up, until by November 1944, 
nearly four hundred ships were awaiting 
discharge. 25 

General Somervell reported to the JCS 
that the existing shortage was partly 
caused by the failure of the Maritime 
Commission to meet its construction 
schedule. But at the same time he recog- 
nized the validity of Admiral Land's 
charge. 26 Indeed, he had been watching 
the situation develop with increasing mis- 
giving. Now he worked vigorously to rec- 
tify matters. His pressure on responsible 
headquarters in the ETO, plus the opening 
of the port of Antwerp, soon reduced the 
number of ships retained to a reasonable 
number. 27 

In innumerable day to day shipping 
activities the ASF and WSA worked close- 
ly together. At ports, local representatives 
of the two agencies constantly exchanged 
cargo in order to attain more efficient 
loading. The arrangement whereby WSA 
assigned outgoing cargo ships to the 
Army, with the vessels returning to WSA 
authority for the home voyage, proved a 
workable one. Whenever an overseas com- 
mand had more than a thousand tons of 
cargo to return to the United States, the 
WSA designated a vessel to move it. An 
Interdepartmental Shipping Priorities 
Committee under the War Production 
Board determined the most urgently 
needed return cargo, and shipping space 

on vessels was allotted to carry it. An ASF 
representative served on the committee 
and the Chief of Transportation made 
Army vessels available as needed. Another 
group, the Joint Military Transportation 
Committee, prepared long-range plans for 
the use of shipping capacity. 

Usually the ASF presented to the WSA 
a forecast of its own probable shipping 
needs for the coming six to eight weeks. 
This showed where and in what amounts 
cargo lift would be required. These fore- 
casts, reviewed twice monthly, helped the 
WSA to plan its deployment of ships. 
Final allocation of specific ships were 
worked out at semiweekly meetings be- 
tween the agencies and by direct tele- 
phone wire between the two offices. 

Troop ships required a somewhat dif- 
ferent arrangement. They remained con- 
stantly in the service of the Army. At first, 
particularly if they had some cargo space, 
the WSA was interested in their home 
voyage. In co-operation with the Army, it 
did utilize some of this space. But with the 
growing number of troops and casualties 
to be returned to the United States later 
in the war, the Army Transportation 
Corps utilized all space on transports in 
carrying troops and their baggage for the 
round trip. 

The changing needs of war demanded 
constant adjustment in shipping plans. 
When American troops were first sent 
overseas in large numbers, Army troop 
ships could not meet the load. The Navy 
therefore assigned some of its transports to 
the Army. But the major aid in providing 

25 Memo, Land for CofS, 22 Nov 44, sub: Merchant 
Shipping, Hq ASF, Shipping, Somervell File. 

26 Memo, Somervell to CofS, 23 Nov 44, sub: 
Memo, Admiral Land on Merchant Shipping, Hq 
ASF, Shipping, Somervell File. 

See above, rp". 85| 



troop lift came from ships loaned by the 
British. The Queen Mary and the Queen 
Elizabeth were particularly helpful. These 
two "Queens," equipped with tiered 
bunks, and with men often sleeping in 
shifts, carried up to fifteen thousand troops 
each, the equivalent of an entire Amer- 
ican division. Relying for safety on their 
tremendous speed, they carried without 
incident from enemy action nearly a mil- 
lion soldiers from the United States to the 
United Kingdom. 28 

But not even these huge liners could 
satisfy the increasing requirements for 
troop lift. When cargo construction was 
well along on schedule, the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff approved the conversion of various 
types of ships to troop transports. Conver- 
sion was a useful device in giving the ship 
program some of the flexibility required 
by the exigencies of war. Later, after troop 
lift demands were temporarily met, vessels 
were converted into hospital ships, repair 
ships, spare parts ships, and even a news 
ship. Smaller vessels became floating re- 
frigerators, floating warehouses, and float- 
ing service shops of numerous varieties. 
Conversions were carried out by several 
agencies and by the armed services. 20 

The Army negotiated directly with the 
WSA on all matters involving privately 
operated vessels under WSA control. It 
dealt with the WSA when it wanted 
British cargo ships for Army service, but 
worked directly with the British Ministry 
of War Transport when it needed British 
troop ships. The two agencies agreed on 
regulations for carrying civilian passen- 
gers engaged in essential travel. On 28 
January and 7 March 1944 the WSA, the 
Army, and the Navy reached agreements 
whereby they accepted each other's barges 
for towing when their tugs had free time. 
Detailed understandings were also arrived 

at with regard to financial procedures. 

An important field of co-operation was 
in matters of personnel. The Army Trans- 
portation Corps usually followed WSA 
procedures. It paid the prevailing wage 
rates including overtime and war bonuses. 
As far as practicable, it also followed es- 
tablished precedents on war risk insurance. 
The WSA used the overseas facilities of 
the War Department when it investigated 
and processed matters dealing with ma- 
rine insurance. The Transportation Corps 
recruited crews for its own transports, but 
co-operated with the WSA in so doing. It 
also made its facilities available to the 
WSA for training officers for merchant 
crews. The Transportation Corps followed 
the forms and procedures of the WSA on 
deferments under the Selective Service 
Act, and the WSA personnel organization 
issued necessary re-employment certifi- 
cates and handled negotiations with local 
draft boards. 

This catalogue of co-operation could be 
greatly extended. But enough has been 
said to indicate how extensive were the op- 
erating relationships between the ASF and 
the War Shipping Administration. In 
short, the WSA controlled the entire pool 
of cargo vessels coming under the jurisdic- 
tion of the United States Government. 
The Army received most of its cargo ships 
through the WSA and retained authority 
to operate them according to its judgment 
of military needs. Under this arrangement 

25 Hillary St. George Saunders, "The Queens," 
Life, July 9, 19+5; Harold Larson, Troop Transports in 
World War II, Monograph 12, pp. 20-24, OCT ASF, 
Mar 45. 

26 Final Report of Troopship Conversion Program, 
Sep 43-Jan 46, prepared by Maint and Rep Br, 30 
Jan 46, OCT, HB, Water Div, Ship Rep and Conver- 
sion; Annual Rpt, Water Div, OCT, Fiscal Year 1945, 
OCT, HB, Water Div Rpts. 



involving numerous points of interagency 
contact, there occasionally were misunder- 
standings, but it is noteworthy that these 
were so few in number. 

Rail Transportation 

For domestic transportation, the War 
Department depended primarily upon the 
services of the American railroad com- 
panies. 30 The position of the War Depart- 
ment was in effect that of any other user 
of transportation facilities. The War De- 
partment contracted directly with the 
railroads for both passenger and freight 
services, and was subject to all the limita- 
tions imposed upon both carrier and user 
by the Interstate Commerce Commission 
(ICC). The rail transportation problem of 
the Army was twofold: to obtain the 
necessary transportation service, and to 
avoid traffic congestion at ports engaged 
in the overseas shipment of Army freight. 
The essential difference between the Army 
and other commercial shippers was the 
military urgency of Army freight and the 
overseas destination of most of its ship- 

As early as the summer of 1941, the 
Association of American Railroads volun- 
tarily joined with the Assistant Chief of 
Staff, G-4, to establish a control system 
over Army cargo moving into ports. 
Thereafter, no Army agency in the United 
States could ship any freight to a port 
area without a prior permit issued upon 
the basis of available shipping. A Traffic 
Control Division, set up as part of the 
Transportation Corps after it was created, 
continued to work with. the Association of 
American Railroads in issuing freight 
permits and in arranging for necessary 
passenger service. 

Earlier, on 18 December 1941, the 

President had established the Office of De- 
fense Transportation by Executive Order 
8989. That agency was an outgrowth of 
the Transportation Division of the Ad- 
visory Commission to the Council of Na- 
tional Defense. The ODT was given 
authority to co-ordinate transportation 
policies and activities of federal agencies 
and private transportation groups in order 
to insure that the domestic transportation 
system met war requirements. In carrying 
out its responsibilities, the ODT was di- 
rected to collaborate with existing agen- 
cies and to utilize their facilities and 
services to the maximum. In particular, it. 
was instructed to maintain close liaison 
with the Maritime Commission, the ICC, 
and the War and Navy Departments. 
Several government agencies, including 
the War Department, were directed to 
designate a representative to work with 
the Office of Defense Transportation. 

The ODT, shortly after it was set up, 
took steps to prevent the congestion of 
freight at port areas. An agreement was 
reached between the War Department, 
the ODT, and the WSA in March 1942, 
whereby a Transportation Control Com- 
mittee was established, consisting of repre- 
sentatives from these three agencies and 
the British Ministry of War Transport. 
The Navy Department was later added to 
the committee. An assistant chief of trans- 
portation from General Gross's office 
represented the War Department on the 
committee. The first ODT regulation es- 
tablishing control machinery was issued 
on 23 May 1942. 

30 The information summarized here has been 
taken from the study, Operating Relationships of the 
Office of the Chief of Transportation, Army Service 
Forces, With Civilian Government Agencies, prepared 
in the Office of the Chief of Transportation, ASF, ASF 
Hist files. 



The system worked in this manner. The 
Transportation Control Committee, on the 
basis of official information about avail- 
ability of cargo space, established what 
were known as ODT block releases under 
which specified quantities of cargo might 
move to ports during a given month. The 
Traffic Control Division in the Office of 
the Chief of Transportation then issued 
the unit permits within the limits fixed by 
the Transportation Control Committee for 
the shipment of all government and lend- 
lease freight except Navy. Unit permits 
for Navy freight were issued by the Navy. 
Those for such commercial freight as was 
being shipped overseas were issued by the 
Association of American Railroads. The 
Army continued to issue its own permits 
on its own authority for the shipment of 
military cargo to ports for loading in ves- 
sels assigned to the Transportation Corps. 

The ODT at one time suggested that 
the entire system of issue of releases for 
shipment to ports be transferred to its di- 
rect operating control. The Army Service 
Forces opposed this move, maintaining 
that it was strictly a military responsibility 
to control the movement of Army freight 
to ports. This position was eventually ac- 
cepted. Transportation Corps machinery 
was utilized for the issuance of other per- 
mits in order to avoid the creation of 
duplicating and confusing administrative 

The ODT exercised general supervision 
over the utilization of all rail facilities. Its 
orders affected War Department shipping, 
unless specifically exempted, in the same 
way as other freight. At the request of the 
Transportation Corps the ODT agreed to 
consult the Army before issuing any spe- 
cific order. In many cases exemptions were 
provided for military freight. For example, 
ODT General Order 1 issued on 1 May 

1942 prohibited the railroads from accept- 
ing for transportation any closed freight 
car containing less than ten tons. An 
amendment to the order issued on the 
same day prohibited the use of closed cars 
for moving merchandise within the same 
city or shipping area. In both instances 
exemptions were made for specified com- 
modities of an obviously military charac- 
ter. In addition, the Army asked for and 
obtained an exemption for cars used as 
storage facilities during military maneu- 
vers. In another case Army-owned tank 
cars were exempted from the ODT's regu- 
lations covering the assignment and rout- 
ing of loaded tank cars. Since only about 
one third of the Army's domestic ship- 
ments of petroleum products were made 
by Army-owned cars, the Transportation 
Corps assigned representatives to work 
with the ODT in the routing of commer- 
cial tank cars. The ODT Tank Car Ad- 
visory Committee included a representa- 
tive of the Chief of Transportation, and at 
three different shipping points Army 
representatives worked jointly with the 
ODT. There were many other orders of a 
similar nature controlling the use of rail 
facilities on which the ASF co-operated 
with the ODT. 

The Interstate Commerce Commission, 
on the other hand, refused to permit the 
ASF to review its orders prior to issuance. 
Thus, for example, the ICC, in Service Or- 
der 68 on 30 January 1942, required ship- 
pers to pay for the minimum weight of the 
car furnished by the carrier regardless of 
the size of the car specified by the shipper. 
This was done to avoid switching delays 
in providing the exact freight car re- 
quested. Such an order necessarily had the 
effect of increasing freight charges for the 
Army; thereupon the Transportation 
Corps sought an exemption. Originally the 



ICC offered a limited exemption based 
upon a permit system, but this was not ac- 
ceptable to the Army because of the large 
number of Army installations involved 
and the delays which would result. No 
satisfactory solution to this problem was 
ever devised. By another order issued in 
February 1943, the ICC vested authority 
in a joint agency of the ICC and ODT to 
divert transcontinental carload traffic 
from congested routes. The Army Service 
Forces succeeded in obtaining an exemp- 
tion from this order through the ODT. 

The Army dealt directly with the Asso- 
ciation of American Railroads in routing 
military passenger traffic in groups of forty 
or more persons. The Transportation 
Corps and the railroads agreed upon the 
types of accommodations to be provided 
and upon the rules to be followed in utiliz- 
ing equipment. The conversion of baggage 
cars to kitchen cars was one such agree- 
ment. The Transportation Corps, working 
with the railroads, also took steps to re- 
duce military demands, as, for example, 
by assigning three men to each section of 
Pullman space. Another expedient was to 
time military movements in such a man- 
ner as to permit the maximum use of a 
particular assignment of rail equipment. 
Thus, on one occasion, three long-run 
hauls of Army personnel were made with 
the same set of passenger cars. Yet another 
method used to reduce military demands 
was to halt the practice of shipping 
wheeled vehicles with troop units when 
moving from one part of the United States 
to another. All of these steps were taken 
by the ASF without any order from the 

The ODT was kept informed of the gen- 
eral volume of military traffic anticipated 
by the War Department. On the other 
hand, the ODT was not consulted about 

any specific movement of either passenger 
or freight traffic. These movements were 
worked out directly between the Trans- 
portation Corps and the Association of 
American Railroads, acting as a central 
agency for all railroad companies. 

The requirements of American railways 
for new equipment were presented to the 
War Production Board by the ODT Be- 
fore acting on these requirements, the 
WPB asked the War Department whether 
the construction program would interfere 
with the purchase of rail equipment for 
military use overseas. These questions 
were handled by ASF headquarters and 
the Chief of Transportation. The advice of 
the ASF was also sought by the WPB in 
granting tax amortization certificates to 
railroads for new construction or new 
equipment. The ODT purchased some 
twelve hundred troop sleeping cars and 
four hundred troop kitchen cars which it 
rented to the railroads for troop train serv- 
ice. The safety and convenience features 
of this equipment were established by the 
Chief of Transportation. 

There were a number of other agencies 
with which the Army dealt in the domes- 
tic transportation field. The ASF was con- 
sulted by the Public Roads Administration 
after 1942, for example, on the question 
of what state highway projects should re- 
ceive federal funds. With the co-operation 
of the ODT, the Army Service Forces 
worked with state agencies in removing 
limitations on the truck haul of military 
freight. In addition, the Transportation 
Corps worked with the ODT on questions 
of transporting persons in accordance with 
Public Law 779 of the 77th Congress, ap- 
proved 1 December 1942. Under this law, 
the War Department was empowered to 
furnish transportation for workers at pri- 
vate plants after the ODT had determined 



that other private and public facilities 
could not render adequate service. On be- 
half of private manufacturers, ASF field 
installations presented proposals for bus 
service to the Chief of Transportation. 
After local investigation and approval, the 
Chief of Transportation submitted his 
recommendations to the ODT As of 30 
June 1945 the Army owned some 7,498 
buses, of which nearly 5,000 were used for 
bus service to military installations and 
over 1,000 for bus service to war plants. 
The ASF also assisted motor carriers in re- 
questing new or replacement equipment 
from the ODT and the War Production 
Board. Army-owned oil barges, when not 
fully employed in military traffic, were 
made available to the WPB and the De- 
fense Supplies Corporation for the haul of 
petroleum products. 

In order to prevent congestion at 
ports — the curse of World War I — the 
ODT found it necessary to exercise con- 
trol over shipments to storage points in 
port areas. These shipments were brought 
under the same control as shipments to 
piers, with the result that they were kept 
in line with available port facilities. The 
ODT also exercised general supervision 
over all storage space affecting transporta- 
tion activities, and at one time, desired to 
bring army holding and reconsignment 
points under its supervision. The Army 
Service Forces objected strongly to this 
proposal, and an informal understanding 
was reached which exempted holding and 
reconsignment points of the Transporta- 
tion Corps from ODT supervision. How- 
ever, these facilities were made available 
by the Transportation Corps to the 
Treasury Department, the Foreign Eco- 
nomic Administration, and the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. The ODT sponsored 
a Federal Emergency Warehouse Associ- 

ation which was helpful in making public 
warehouse space available to the Army. 

As a heavy shipper, the War Depart- 
ment was much concerned with the rates 
charged for its freight movements. The 
Chief of Transportation negotiated directly 
with railways to reduce rates on various 
classes of military freight, and in cases of 
an impasse, went to the ICC for a decision. 
The ODT joined the Chief of Transporta- 
tion in pressing those cases where govern- 
mental agencies generally might benefit 
from a reduction in freight rates. All other 
rate cases involving the Army were prose- 
cuted by the Chief of Transportation. 

The ASF insisted upon maintaining full 
control over military traffic within the 
zone of interior. At the same time, as 
already indicated, it took necessary steps 
to reduce its demands as far as possible 
and to assist the railroads in bearing the 
burden. During the redeployment period 
after V-E Day, a 50 percent increase be- 
yond the previous peak in military passen- 
ger traffic made it necessary for the ODT 
under Transportation Corps and ASF 
pressure to impose a number of restrictions 
upon civilian passenger traffic. But in spite 
of these measures, the passenger facilities 
made available for the Army were in many 
instances inadequate. These problems 
were in the process of mutual negotiation 
and settlement when the surrender of 
Japan brought about a decrease in the vol- 
ume of military traffic. Voluntary action 
was later proposed by the western railroads 
to meet Army needs for passenger equip- 
ment to move men home from the Pacific 
coast. These various arrangements for mu- 
tual action by the Army Service Forces 
and the other government agencies con- 
cerned with domestic transportation pro- 
vided a satisfactory working relationship 
throughout World War II. 




From the date of the passage of the 
Lend-Lease Act in 1941 until the end of 
the war, a central civilian agency main- 
tained general oversight of foreign aid pro- 
grams. First, there was the Division of 
Defense Aid Reports under Maj. Gen. 
James H. Burns; after 28 October 1941, 
there was the Office of Lend-Lease Ad- 
ministration under Mr. Edward R. Stet- 
tinius; and finally on 25 September 1943, 
the Foreign Economic Administration was 
created, headed by Leo Crowley. 31 These 
central agencies were not strictly speaking 
operating agencies. Rather they super- 
vised and co-ordinated the procurement 
and distribution of lend-lease supplies by 
other departments. Thus the War Depart- 
ment was responsible for procuring all 
lend-lease supplies for foreign armies. But 
at first it was dependent upon the OLLA 
for allocation of funds, and had to follow 
procedures laid down by that office. Dur- 
ing the prewar phase of lend-lease, this di- 
vision of function led to involved requisi- 
tioning procedures which the Army felt 
seriously hampered its efforts to procure 
and distribute munitions on a strategic 
basis. These difficulties were largely re- 
solved after Pearl Harbor by placing the 
distribution of munitions under the con- 
trol of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. As a 
corollary, a consolidated production pro- 
gram was developed by the ASF, combin- 
ing U.S. Army and lend-lease require- 
ments. To finance this consolidated 
program, Congress made direct appropri- 
ations to the War Department for lend- 
lease purposes, placing only certain dollar 
limitations on transfers of military equip- 
ment. The Army Supply Program then 
became the basis of procurement both for 
the U.S. Army and for military lend-lease; 

allocation of the finished product was ac- 
complished by the Munitions Assignments 
Board in Washington, operating under the 
directives of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 
The administration of this military lend- 
lease program, nevertheless, remained in 
the War Department, and in March 1942 
was absorbed as one of the lunctions of the 

This system made lend-lease a basic in- 
strument of military policy and strategy, 
as noted elsewhere. 32 In March and April 
1942 General Somervell was instrumental 
in the negotiation of agreements whereby 
the OLLA gave up all authority to influ- 
ence these decisions. The War Department 
thus acquired complete autonomy in the 
operation of its lend-lease program "sub- 
ject to the policies and directions of the 
President or the Combined Munitions As- 
signments Board," and to the establish- 
ment of reporting procedures which would 
permit OLLA to keep accurate record of 
transfers made. 33 The OLLA (and later 
the FEA) became an accounting agency 
insofar as military lend-lease supplies were 
concerned. The reporting procedures were 
established by agreement between the In- 
ternational Division, ASF, and the civilian 
lend-lease authority. The OLLA and FEA 
retained responsibility for handling civil- 
ian lend-lease. Since it was impossible to 
decide in some cases whether an article 
was civilian or military, there remained 
areas of questionable or overlapping juris- 
diction. The Army was also interested in 
the amount and character of civilian lend- 

31 EO 8751, 2 May 41; EO 8926, 28 Oct 41; EO 
9830, 25 Sep 43 

12 See above, Ich, Hi! Lend-Lease Sec. 

33 Ltr, Thomas B. McCabe to Somervell, 12 Mar 
42; Ltr, Somervell to McCabe, 13 Mar 42, Both in 
Hq ASF, LL File. Ltr, McCabe to SW, 9 Apr 42, Intn 
Div, ASF. File 400.318, Vol. I. 



lease provided to other governments. Re- 
ciprocal aid (or "reverse lend-lease") and 
the conditions under which it might assist 
U.S. military operations were problems of 
importance to both agencies. It was neces- 
sary to delineate responsibility for the sup- 
ply of the civilian population in occupied 
areas. Agreements reached in these fields 
were usually so complicated, and involved 
so many different government agencies, as 
to defy simple definition. The Interna- 
tional Division, ASF, represented the War 
Department in these negotiations. 

The shipment of lend-lease supplies was 
also important to the ASF because of its 
possible interference with the military sup- 
ply of overseas theaters. By a basic ar- 
rangement worked out in late 1942, the 
War Department was responsible for the 
movement of military lend-lease supplies 
to port, but loading and shipment overseas 
were responsibilities of the War Shipping 
Administration. This arrangement was 
never entirely satisfactory to the ASF, 
which preferred Transportation Corps con- 
trol of the loading and shipping of military 
lend-lease, but through close co-operation 
with WSA it did prove to be at least a 
workable system. In cases where lend-lease 
supplies were consigned to U.S. com- 
manders abroad for distribution within a 
theater of operations, they were moved en- 
tirely under Army control. 34 

Since civilian as well as military lend- 
lease supplies had to be shipped on the 
same vessels, the co-ordination of storage 
operations, movement to port, and load- 
ing activities required close collaboration 
between the ASF, OLLA, WSA, and 
representatives of foreign governments 
concerned. Through formal and informal 
conferences and committees, the multi- 
plicity of details inherent in such opera- 
tions was worked out harmoniously. 35 

Civilian Defense 

The President in May 1941 established 
an Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) as a 
co-ordinating agency to work with state 
and local governments in protecting the 
civilian population and civilian facilities 
from the possible dangers of enemy ac- 
tion. 36 A board for civilian protection, on 
which the Secretary of War was repre- 
sented, was set up within the OCD. 

The War Department was obviously 
vitally concerned with civilian defense. 
While the Army's role in home defense 
was primarily to repel any enemy attack, 
it had already assumed some responsibil- 
ity for inspecting the precautions taken at 
vital production facilities to insure unin- 
terrupted operation. The Provost Marshal 
General in the ASF directed an internal 
security program which called for plant 
guards, visitor control, and other safety 
precautions at vital war installations. A 
Resources Protection Board in the WPB, 
composed of representatives of the Army, 
the Navy, the OCD, and the WPB, indi- 
cated specific facilities which were vital to 
the war effort. These facilities were in- 
cluded on a Master Inspection Responsi- 
bility List which guided the ASF in its 
internal security activities. Later the OCD 
established, with the approval of the 
Secretary of War, a Facilities Security 

34 Draft ltr, ASW to Douglas, (filed 10 Sep 42), 
Intn Div, ASF, File 008 Shipmts, Vol. I; WSA Opns 
Regulation 23, 25 Nov 42; Memo, ASF for Chiefs 
Sup Svs, 4 Dec 42, sub: Procedure for Shipmts of WD 
LL Material for Waterborne Export, SPX 400.3295 
(1 1-29-42). 

35 The problems of distribution of lend-lease sup- 
plies will be discussed in greater detail in Leighton 
and Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare, 1941-1943. 
This material is based largely on the' chapter entitled: 
Transformation of Lend- Lease into an Instrument of 
Coalition Warfare. 

36 EO 8751, 20 May 41. 



Program designed to assure protection of 
essential facilities. 37 This program was to 
be supplementary to the protective pro- 
grams of the Army, the Navy, and the 
Federal Power Commission. 

There was some difficulty between the 
OCD and the ASF in drawing a clear dis- 
tinction in their respective roles. An agree- 
ment was negotiated between the two 
agencies in May 1943 in which the War 
Department assumed exclusive responsi- 
bility for protecting facilities listed on its 
Master Inspection Responsibility List. The 
Secretary of War designated a representa- 
tive to work with the OCD on internal se- 
curity matters and to prevent any over- 
lapping effort. The whole internal security 
program was greatly reduced in Novem- 
ber 1943 and again in September 1944. 38 

The ASF co-operated in many other 
phases of the OCD program. The Chief of 
Chemical Warfare Service provided train- 

ing in chemical defense for thousands of 
civilians. The service commands of the 
ASF worked closely with local OCD of- 
fices in calling attention to necessary pro- 
tection programs by state and local 
governments. Dangers from possible bomb 
and gas attack were dramatized by Army 
personnel in a show which toured princi- 
pal cities of the country. With allied forces 
on the offensive all over the world, civilian 
defense gradually receded in importance, 
until by 1944, the OCD virtually ceased to 
exist. It is doubtful if civilian defense ex- 
perience in World War II was sufficiently 
extensive or vital to suggest any pattern 
for future use. Thanks to the fact that all 
the actual conflict took place at such great 
distances from the United States itself, the 
problem of civilian defense actually never 
became a crucial one. 

37 EO 9165, 19 May 42. 

38 See above, \p. 105. | 


Procurement Collaboration 
With the Navy 

The Army Service Forces was by no 
means the only military procurement 
agency during World War II. Within the 
War Department the ASF shared procure- 
ment and supply duties with the Army Air 
Forces, an arrangement that has already 
been discussed. 1 Within the federal gov- 
ernment as a whole the ASF shared war 
procurement responsibilities with the U.S. 
Maritime Commission (which contracted 
for cargo vessels) and with a number of 
bureaus in the Department of the Navy. 

The Navy bureaus — Ordnance, Ships, 
Supplies and Accounts, Yards and Docks, 
and Aeronautics — were not organized 
into a command comparable to that of the 
ASF. Rather, on procurement activities 
these bureaus operated under general 
policies determined by two units of the 
Secretary's office — the Under Secretary's 
office (assisted by the General Counsel) 
and the Office of Procurement and Mate- 
rial. 2 On supply activities the bureaus re- 
ceived instructions from a Vice-Chief of 
Naval Operations. 

Necessarily there were many common 
interests between the ASF and the Navy. 
Many of the items purchased and used by 
the Army and Navy were similar if not 
identical. Both Army and Navy procure- 
ment officers entered into contracts with 
the same manufacturing companies. Con- 

tractors in turn needed the same raw ma- 
terials and component parts in order to 
provide Army and Navy supplies. These 
factors gave the ASF good reason to seek 
Navy collaboration on procurement and 
supply activities. Throughout the war, 
General Somervell was a strong advocate 
of joint action with the Navy, and after the 
war he was a firm believer in the unifica- 
tion of the armed forces under single direc- 
tion. Some of the difficulties that grew out 
of efforts at voluntary co-operation no 
doubt helped to produce this attitude. 

The Army and Navy Munitions Board 
might have become a joint agency for pro- 
moting co-operative procurement rela- 
tionships, but it practically went out of 
existence in 1942. 3 In 1944 the only re- 
minder of the ANMB that remained was 
a periodically revised statement jointly 
approved by the Production Division, 

1 See above, [p. 1 2 5 1 

2 For a history of Navy procurement organization 
see Robert H. Connery, The Navy and the Industrial 
Mobilization in World War II (Princeton, N. J., Prince- 
ton University Press, 1951). 

3 The historian of Navy procurement reports that 
there was little for the ANMB to do after Mr. Eber- 
stadt became a vice-chairman of the WPB in Sep- 
tember 1942. He then goes on to say that while Mr. 
Eberstadt wanted to merge the ANMB and the WPB, 
"it was General Somervell and not the Navy that de- 
feated the plan to merge ANMB and WPB opera- 
tions. He gradually withdrew the Army officers who 



ASF, and the Office of Procurement and 
Material in the Navy labeled: The Army 
and Navy Munitions Board List of Pro- 
hibited Items for Construction Work. This 
was first issued in May 1942 and the 
ANMB designation was continued in the 
succeeding years, even though meaning- 
less. 4 In December 1945 an official an- 
nouncement was issued by ASF headquar- 
ters saying that "the Army and Navy 
Munitions Board has been reconsti- 
tuted." 5 This order implicitly acknowl- 
edged that the board had lapsed. 

In almost every instance where procure- 
ment co-operation eventually developed 
between the ASF and the Navy, it was 
only after some difficulty had first begun 
to hamper operations. In many cases the 
technicians concerned with a common 
problem got together and worked out a 
solution. Sometimes Army or Navy per- 
sonnel anticipated a problem and sought 
the co-operation of the other. Most rela- 
tionships were either informal or were set 
up to meet a special need. Two examples 
will illustrate. When the War Department 
began its Army Specialized Training Pro- 
gram in December 1942, the Navy was 
already using various university facilities 
throughout the country for officer and 
other training programs. For a time, uni- 
versities and colleges were able to pit 

had been assigned to ANMB and did not fill the bil- 
lets left vacant." Connery, The Navy and the Industrial 
Mobilization in World War II, p. 176. There is no record 
in the files of the commanding general of the ASF to 
justify this interpretation, nor does it coincide with 
this author's own recollection of the events. Somer- 
vell wanted ASF representation on industry require- 
ments committees in the WPB and kept such repre- 
sentatives to the extent that the WPB was willing and 
the work of the WPB warranted. Somervell did not 
withdraw personnel from ANMB because there was 
no separate agency from which to remove them. The 
ANMB never had a staff of its own. Somervell in 
1942 was not as interested in formal co-operation with 
the Navy on procurement as in 1944. 

Army and Navy needs against each other 
in obtaining the most favorable contract 
terms for training facilities. Accordingly, 
in March 1943 the Under Secretary of 
War and the Under Secretary of the Navy 
signed a joint directive creating a Joint 
Army and Navy Board for Training Unit 
Contracts and agreed upon a single indi- 
vidual to be chairman and to represent 
both services. The agreement was revised 
and extended in August 1943. The second 
example involved packaging. After long 
discussions among staff officers, the Under 
Secretary of War and the Assistant Secre- 
tary of the Navy on 10 February 1945 
established a Joint Army-Navy Packaging 
Board to set up uniform procedure in issu- 
ing packing and packaging instructions to 
contractors for various kinds of supplies. 8 
These two examples of jointly solving a 
special problem and setting up a standard 
practice were not unusual. 

Fortunately, a complete and systematic 
account of Army and Navy procurement 
relationships was prepared before the end 
of World War II. This report arose out of 
peculiar circumstances. When in the au- 
tumn of 1943 the War Department began 
to work closely with the Office of War 
Mobilization on policies for contract ter- 
mination, the Navy was invited to partici- 
pate. A Joint Contract Termination Board 
was organized in the Office of War Mobi- 
lization on 1 1 November 1943 under the 
chairmanship of Mr. John M. Hancock. 
This board consisted of the Secretary of 
Commerce, the Under Secretaries of War 
and the Navy, and representatives of other 
agencies such as the WPB, the FEA, and 
the Treasury Department. A uniform ter- 

1 This practice is described in the Draper-Strauss 
Rpt: II, Functional Studies, pp. 196-97. 

5 ASFCir441, 11 Dec 45. 

6 WDCir80, 13 Mar 45. 



mination article to be used in prime con- 
tracts having a fixed price was agreed 
upon and officially promulgated on 8 
January 1944. To meet the need of guid- 
ance in terminating fixed price subcon- 
tracts, the board framed and recom- 
mended for use a termination article on 
21 May 1944. Then a series of four inter- 
pretations of the uniform termination 
article was agreed upon. Thus, substan- 
tially complete understanding was 
achieved between the War and Navy 
Departments on termination policies, 
except for cost-plus-a-fixed-fee contracts. 
Thereafter, additional negotiations were 
begun in an effort to achieve procedural 
uniformity in the termination practices of 
the two departments. Eventually, on 1 
November 1944 a Joint Termination Reg- 
ulation was issued by the War and Navy 
Departments. A Joint Termination Ac- 
counting Manual accompanied this regu- 
lation. Collaboration was extended even 
to the point where one department ar- 
ranged to settle the terminated contracts 
of the other on a company-wide basis. The 
achievement in the field of contract termi- 
nation is probably the most outstanding 
example of success in the effort to unify 
War and Navy procurement activities 
during World War II. Within the War 
Department the entire termination effort 
was directed by Col. William H. Draper, 
Jr., of ASF headquarters. His counterpart 
in the Navy was Capt. Lewis L. Strauss. 

With the successful conclusion of Colo- 
nel Draper's work, Somervell thought the 
time propitious for a review of all Army- 
Navy procurement relationships. In April 
1944 both Under Secretary Patterson and 
General Somervell had appeared before 
the House Select Committee on Postwar 
Military Policy to urge unification of the 
armed forces. 7 Somervell hoped Colonel 

Draper, by exploring desirable collabora- 
tive relations between the Army and Navy, 
might make a substantial contribution 
toward better Army- Navy procurement 
arrangements and at the same time, lay 
the groundwork for the larger problem of 
service integration after the war. 8 

A final report was submitted on 8 Feb- 
ruary 1945 by Colonel Draper and Cap- 
tain Strauss and was accompanied by two 
volumes of studies on existing procure- 
ment relations. 9 The Functional Studies of 
the Draper-Strauss Report described the 
many different relationships which had 
grown up during the war between ASF 
headquarters and the Navy. The Materiel 
Studies presented the various collaborative 
arrangements existing between the tech- 
nical services of the ASF, the AAF, and the 
procurement bureaus of the Navy. The 
two types of studies together enumerated 
most of the formal and informal contacts 
between the War and Navy Departments. 
The number of these was impressive. 
Equally noteworthy was the wide variety 
of measures taken to bring about common 
action. In general, they fell into one of four 
broad categories. First, the studies indi- 
cated extensive exchange of information 
on research and development projects and 
an occasional division of development re- 
sponsibility between the Army technical 
services and the Navy bureaus. Second, 

7 Hearings before the Select Committee on Postwar Mili- 
tary Policy, H.R., 78th Cong, 2d Sess, on Proposal to 
Establish a Single Department of Armed Forces. 

8 In private' life, before World War II, Colonel 
Draper had been a partner in the New York banking 
firm of Dillon, Reed and Company. The new Secre- 
tary of the Navy, James Forrestal, had also been a 
member of that firm. Under Secretary Patterson per- 
suaded Secretary Forrestal that Draper should be as- 
signed to this project. The Secretary of the Navy 
designated Capt. L. L. Strauss of his office to work 
with Colonel Draper. 

9 Draper-Strauss Rpt: I, Final and Interim Reports; 
II, Functional Studies; III, Materiel Studies. 



for a number of different items, Army 
technical services procured the require- 
ments as indicated by a Navy bureau, 
while Navy bureaus procured certain 
items for Army technical services. In the 
third place, there were a few instances of 
joint Army-Navy procurement. Finally, 
there had been considerable effort to work 
out joint procurement policies, specifica- 
tions, and procedures to be followed by the 
actual procuring agencies. Each of these 
types of collaborative endeavor can be 
briefly illustrated. 

The technical services of the Army and 
the procurement bureaus of the Navy ex- 
changed technical information on virtu- 
ally all research and development projects 
of any possible common interest. The 
meetings of technical committees in each 
technical service were ordinarily attended 
by Navy representatives, and reports and 
other development papers were inter- 
changed on a systematic basis. Frequently, 
co-operation on research matters went 
much farther than attendance at meetings 
and exchange of reports. The Ordnance 
development program is a case in point. 
The Navy Bureau of Ordnance had for 
years done much work in the development 
of armor plate for ships. Tank develop- 
ment in the Army brought many of the 
same problems into Army research and 
procurement. The Navy made its heavy 
armor testing facilities at Dahlgren Prov- 
ing Ground available to the Army, while 
the Ordnance Department in turn made 
experimental facilities at Aberdeen Prov- 
ing Ground available to the Navy. All 
information from research in ballistics was 
likewise exchanged between the two serv- 
ices. The Ordnance Department and the 
Navy Bureau of Ordnance also divided up 
much of the work in developing rockets. 
Facilities were used in common by both 

services, and agreements were made 
whereby each service would tend to spe- 
cialize in a different field of rocket devel- 
opment. 10 In the field of communications, 
the Signal Corps of the Army, on the one 
hand, and the Navy Bureau of Ordnance 
and the Navy Bureau of Ships, on the 
other, worked closely together, through 
the Office of Scientific Research and De- 
velopment, in using the private research 
facilities at Westinghouse, General Elec- 
tric, and Western Electric plants. The 
Joint Communications Board under the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff was utilized as the 
agency for co-operation in the develop- 
ment of radar equipment. This board had 
nine subcommittees, with representatives 
from the two departments directing joint 
work on the design and development of 
equipment for Army and Navy use. 11 In 
1943 a Joint Army-Navy Standardization 
Committee for Vehicles and Construction 
Equipment was established which resulted 
in agreement on standard automotive 
equipment for the two services. The Navy 
agreed to use Army specifications for auto- 
motive equipment. 12 In 1944 the Chem- 
ical Warfare Service was engaged in four- 
teen research projects set up and financed 
by Navy funds. In its turn, the Navy 
Bureau of Ordnance stationed Naval of- 
ficers at both Edgewood Arsenal and Dug- 
way Proving Ground to keep in touch 
with the research developments of the 
Chemical Warfare Service. 13 All of these 
examples show the procedures used to 
achieve the maximum benefit for both 
services in their common interest in re- 
search and development. 

In the second place, for a number of 

10 Ibid., Ill, 79, 84. 

11 Ibid., Ill, 100. 
™Ibtd., Ill, K)9. 

13 Ibid., Ill, 120-21. 



different items the Navy obtained its re- 
quirements frpm the Army, while the 
Navy in turn purchased some items and 
delivered them to the Army. Thus the 
Marine Corps obtained all of its tanks 
from the Army. The same was true of 
small arms, machine guns, and ammuni- 
tion. Marine Corps requirements for these 
items were incorporated in the ASF Army 
Supply Program and deliveries were made 
to the Navy on a reimbursable basis. 14 The 
Bureau of Ships purchased all landing 
craft for the Army. Early in 1941 the 
Office of Production Management desig- 
nated the Chrysler Corporation to pro- 
duce 40-mm. antiaircraft guns for both the 
Army and Navy. In addition, Army 
arsenals such as Watertown and Water- 
vliet produced heavy guns for the Navy, 
while the Navy frequently produced large 
guns and heavy ammunition for the 
Army. 15 During the calendar year 1944 
approximately 46 percent of the Navy's 
total purchases of motor vehicles were ob- 
tained directly from the Army. 16 The 
Chemical Warfare Service purchased in- 
cendiary bombs, gas masks, protective 
materials, and other items for the Navy 
Department. 17 A somewhat different ar- 
rangement was employed for the procure- 
ment of crawler tractors and spare parts. 
In March 1942 the WPB froze all deliv- 
eries of tractors because of competing 
demands from the military services. There- 
after the WPB agreed to make 85 percent 
of all crawler tractor deliveries available 
to the armed forces. This was a lump sum 
allocation and was not divided between 
the Army and the Navy. Thereupon the 
Army Service Forces took the lead in de- 
veloping a plan whereby the Corps of 
Engineers purchased and accepted deliv- 
ery of all tractors under the WPB orders. 
The distribution of these tractors was then 

controlled by a War Department Confer- 
ence Group for Tractors and Cranes. This 
committee was composed of representa- 
tives from three bureaus of the Navy, the 
Marine Corps, seven ASF representatives, 
the AAF, and representatives from the 
War Department General Staff. Working 
under the aegis of the Munitions Assign- 
ments Committee (Ground), this confer- 
ence group agreed upon the division of 
total deliveries among all the services. 18 In 
all these instances the Army or the Navy 
was completely responsible for all procure- 
ment, delivering the desired completed 
items to the other service on a reimburs- 
able basis. 

In the third place, there were a number 
of examples of joint procurement oper- 
ations where the ASF and the Navy 
bureaus worked together in the procure- 
ment of common items. The foremost ex- 
ample of joint procurement occurred in 
the subsistence field. Procurement of all 
nonperishable foodstuffs for the Army was 
directed by The Quartermaster General 
through the Chicago depot. This office 
also let the contracts for the Navy or as- 
signed portions of contracts to the Navy. 
The Navy Bureau of Supplies and Ac- 
counts then received grade certificates 
from the War Food Administration and 
gave its contractors separate shipping in- 
structions. Moreover, the Navy paid all of 
its food bills directly to contractors. Perish- 
able subsistence items were bought 
through Quartermaster market centers 
and buying offices scattered throughout 
the nation. The Navy maintained offices 
at fifteen of these market centers and paid 

14 Ibid., Ill, 80, 1 10. 
13 Ibid., Ill, 79. 
16 Ibid., Ill, 109. 
" Ibid., Ill, 119. 
18 Ibid., Ill, 17. 



a proportionate share of the salaries of 
civilian employees. The Navy market 
offices received requirements from Navy 
yards and depots for fresh foodstuffs and 
then turned these over to the Quarter- 
master officers to be incorporated in the 
Army's buying program. Delivery instruc- 
tions to contractors were furnished by 
Quartermaster officers, but reports of de- 
livery went to the Navy market officer, 
who prepared the voucher and arranged 
for payment. About 90 percent of all 
perishable food supplies for the Navy were 
thus procured, while 85 percent of Navy 
nonperishable foodstuffs were purchased 
through the Chicago Quartermaster 
Depot. 19 

Another joint procurement operation 
was established in 1942 for the purchase 
of lumber for both the Army and Navy. 
Because of difficulties in obtaining desired 
lumber supplies, the chairman of the 
ANMB in August 1942 arranged for the 
creation of the Central Procuring Agency 
on Lumber Procurement. The agency was 
staffed by both Army and Navy officers 
but operated under the direction of the 
Army Chief of Engineers. This device per- 
mitted one agency to present lumber re- 
quirements to the War Production Board 
and to deal with contractors. The Central 
Procuring Agency established various field 
offices, some of which were in charge of 
Army personnel and others in charge of 
Navy personnel. In all instances both serv- 
ices had men in each office. Each service 
paid directly for the lumber delivered to 
it, but contract letting, production expe- 
diting, and production inspection were 
handled on a joint basis under single di- 
rection. 20 Close co-operation in the pro- 
curement of petroleum products was 
obtained through the Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board, another agency of the Joint 

Chiefs of Staff. This board consolidated 
Army and Navy requirements for petro- 
leum products, presented these require- 
ments to the Petroleum Administration for 
War, and then designated producers to 
deliver petroleum products to the Army or 
Navy. Joint action was also taken in ship- 
ping such products overseas. 21 Because of 
competing demands for diesel engines, a 
Diesel Engine Subcommittee of the Joint 
Army-Navy Munitions Assignments Com- 
mittee was appointed to schedule and allot 
production deliveries to the armed serv- 
ices. 22 From 1942 to 1943 ajoint Army- 
Navy Electronics Production Agency ex- 
pedited deliveries of tubes and other essen- 
tial radar equipment. 23 In the examples 
just cited, various co-operative methods 
were employed by the two departments to 
bring about close collaboration in the pro- 
curement of identical supplies. Each main- 
tained certain phases of the procurement 
process under its own control, but con- 
tracts were let on ajoint basis and dupli- 
cation of facilities and personnel was 

Finally, ASF headquarters worked 
closely with the Chief of Procurement and 
Material in the Navy Department in de- 
veloping joint procurement policies. The 
outstanding achievement in this field was 
the issuance by the two departments of the 
Joint Termination Regulation and the 
Joint Termination Accounting Manual, as 
already related. Another important 
achievement in joint Army-Navy action 
was realized on 22 December 1942 when 
the Chief of Procurement and Material of 
the Navy Department and the command- 

19 Ibid., Ill, 1. 

20 Ibid., Ill, 17. 

21 Ibid., Ill, 42. 

22 Ibid., Ill, 57. 
"Ibid., Ill, 99. 



ing general of the ASF established a Joint 
Army-Navy Committee on Specifications. 
This committee set up various subcom- 
mittees to work out common specifications 
for such items as textiles, chemicals, elec- 
tronics, engineer equipment, transporta- 
tion equipment, communications equip- 
ment, medical supplies, photographic 
supplies, and packing and packaging ma- 
terials. No effort was made to duplicate 
standard federal specifications. By the end 
of 1944 there were some 155 joint Army- 
Navy specifications in use by both agen- 
cies. 24 The two departments exchanged 
considerable information about pricing 
methods and policies. Some contact was 
maintained through the WPB Procure- 
ment Policy Board, but direct communi- 
cation between pricing officials of the two 
departments resulted in the adoption of 
many identical practices. On the other 
hand, the two departments used different 
contract provisions and forms and very 
different processes in administering con- 
tracts. 25 

A Joint Army and Navy Patent Advis- 
ory Board advised the U.S. Patent Office 
on which patent applications should be 
kept secret for reasons of military security. 
This was the extent of co-operation in the 
patent field. 26 

To a considerable degree, through mu- 
tual co-operation and discussion, the two 
departments obtained substantially uni- 
form insurance policies. Thus both depart- 
ments followed the same practices in 
insuring government-owned property used 
by contractors, in using a comprehensive 
rating plan for workmen's compensation, 
in providing marine war risk insurance 
through the War Shipping Administra- 
tion, and in fixing the insurance provisions 
for repair time-and-material contracts. 27 

On 31 March 1943 the Under Secretary 

of War and the Under Secretary of the 
Navy adopted a joint statement of prin- 
ciples to govern the renegotiation of con- 
tracts. This was worked out in large part 
by the Renegotiation Division in ASF 
headquarters. The two departments then 
voluntarily created a Joint Price Adjust- 
ment Board to fix renegotiation policies 
and procedures on a continuing basis. In 
February 1944, Congress, by law, directed 
the establishment of a War Contracts 
Price Adjustment Board representing all 
procurement agencies of the government. 
The Price Adjustment Board of the War 
Department included a member from the 
Navy, and the Price Adjustment Board of 
the Navy Department included a member 
from ASF headquarters sitting on behalf 
of the Under Secretary. This brought 
about a considerable degree of uniformity 
in renegotiation procedure. 28 

In the course of their studies, Colonel 
Draper and Captain Strauss found a num- 
ber of opportunities for further procure- 
ment co-operation between the two de- 
partments. Interim Report 1 on 21 
December 1944, recommended the crea- 
tion of a Joint Army-Navy Medical Ma- 
teriel and Specifications Board to design 
and develop medical equipment, a Joint 
Purchasing Agency for Medical and Sur- 
gical Equipment and Supplies, and a Joint 
Inspection and Laboratory Service. These 
recommendations were approved by the 
Secretary of the Navy and the Under 
Secretary of War. A second interim report 
on 28 December recommended that Army 
and Navy procurement officers be placed 

" Ibid., II, 85. 
" Ibid., II, 36-49. 
26 Ibid., II, 50. 
" Ibid., II, 181. 
"Ibid., II, 69. 



in the same office for the procurement of 
standard stock items, textiles, clothing, 
and shoes. This also was approved. In- 
terim Report 3 on 8 January 1945 recom- 
mended the creation of a centrally located 
Joint Army and Navy Petroleum Pur- 
chase Agency. Interim Report 4 on 1 1 
January recommended the immediate 
establishment of a Joint Marine Procure- 
ment Board as a co-ordinating agency be- 
tween the Navy's Bureau of Ships and the 
Army Transportation Corps. Interim 
Report 5 on 23 January recommended de- 
tailed studies of possible further co-ordina- 
tion in the procurement of various types 
of ordnance materiel. Interim Report 6 
resulted in the creation of a Joint Army- 
Navy Packaging Board to resolve differ- 
ences between the Army Packaging Board 
and the Navy Packaging Board and to 
insure uniform instructions on packing 
and packaging. Interim Report 7 on 1 
February merely pointed out that further 
co-operation in procurement of electronics 
equipment seemed desirable, but it made 
no recommendations. Interim Report 8 on 
5 February pointed to the need for further 
co-operation in the procurement of con- 
struction machinery and mechanical 
equipment and resulted in instructions 
from the Under Secretary of War and the 
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for further 
effort at realizing common basic specifica- 
tions and for assignment of procurement 
to a single agency. Interim Report 10 on 9 
February resulted in instructions from the 
Under Secretary of War and the Assistant 
Secretary of the Navy for further study of 
the advisability of unifying the procure- 
ment of chemical warfare supplies. 29 

In their final report of 8 February 1945 
Colonel Draper and Captain Strauss both 
agreed that all studies demonstrated "the 
need for further co-ordination between the 

two departments in procurement." While 
in some fields of procurement excellent re- 
sults had been obtained, in others very 
little had been accomplished. Moreover, 
there was serious danger that the benefits 
of existing co-operation might be lost with- 
out additional steps to put all of these ar- 
rangements "on a firm and permanent 
basis." The report stated that the mere 
creation of many joint committees and 
boards was not sufficient. Accordingly, it 
recommended the creation of a staff or- 
ganization patterned after the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff to insure uniform policies and pro- 
cedures and to insist upon further co-oper- 
ation between the two departments. This 
joint staff organization was to be known 
as the Joint Materiel Chiefs and was to 
function under the direction of the Under 
Secretary of War and the Assistant Secre- 
tary of the Navy. The Joint Materiel 
Chiefs would consist of the Commanding 
General, ASF, and the Commanding Gen- 
eral, AAF, or a representative designated 
by him, and two flag officers designated 
by the Secretary of the Navy. Under the 
Joint Materiel Chiefs would be a Joint Di- 
rector of Materiel who would establish 
general policies and procedures to be fol- 
lowed in some twelve phases of procure- 
ment such as purchasing and pricing, 
contract forms and procedures, financing 
of production, insurance, renegotiation, 
contract termination, and the disposal of 
property. The Joint Director of Mat6riel 
would also further co-ordination between 
the two departments in item identifica- 
tion, inspection, design and specifications, 
the use of facilities, production scheduling, 
production controls, and the allocation of 
materials. He would also supervise co-op- 

29 Interim Reports 9 and 1 1 merely transmitted 
detailed studies. 



erative arrangements between the actual 
procurement offices. 30 

The recommendation for the creation 
of the Joint Materiel Chiefs and a Joint 
Director of Materiel was approved by the 
Under Secretary of War but was opposed 
by the Navy Department. At first, in their 
joint conferences on the report, Secretary 
Forrestal indicated his approval to Under 
Secretary Patterson. 31 Then, after long 
discussion inside the Navy Department, 
Secretary Forrestal changed his mind and 
decided against action on any of the 
Draper-Strauss recommendations. As a 
result, none of the broad proposals set 
forth in the report was carried out. 

In individual instances, further co-op- 
erative action was achieved before the end 
of the war. The Surgeon General of the 
Army and the Surgeon General of the 
Navy established a Joint Medical Materiel 
and Specification Board with a Joint Cat- 
alog Branch and a Joint Specifications 
Branch in New York City to bring about a 
greater degree of interchangeability of 
medical items. The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral and the Navy Bureau of Supply and 
Accounts established a Joint Purchasing 
Agency for textile procurement in New 
York City and a Joint Petroleum Purchas- 
ing Agency in Washington. The creation 
of these three boards was the chief accom- 
plishment of the Draper-Strauss report. 
Little progress was made in attempting to 
further co-operation between the Corps of 
Engineers and the Navy Bureau of Yards 
and Docks; likewise, the Ordnance De- 
partment and the Navy Bureau of Ord- 
nance opposed a Joint Procurement 
Agency for Rockets or the establishment 
of a co-ordinating board for the two agen- 
cies. The Army and Navy Packaging 
Board made some progress in developing 
and publishing joint packaging specifica- 

tions and instructions for use by all pro- 
curement agencies. 32 With the conclusion 
of hostilities in August 1945 pressure for 
Joint Army-Navy procurement action 
came to an end. The whole issue was 
dwarfed by the larger, more basic question 
of a single department of national defense. 

Thus, under wartime conditions there 
was a good deal of co-operation between 
the two military departments on procure- 
ment matters. All of this effort was purely 
voluntary. There were also instances of 
non-co-operation, as when the Army cut 
back 40-mm. ammunition production at 
a plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, at the same 
time that the Navy was expanding 40- 
mm. ammunition production at a plant in 
Elgin, Illinois, and when both bought ten- 
ton bridge trestles from the same manu- 
facturer in Covington, Kentucky, but set 
different specifications on the tolerance 
and spacing of drill holes. During World 
War II there never existed any systematic, 
institutional device for promoting and di- 
recting procurement co-operation by the 
two departments. The Draper-Strauss re- 
port recommended such machinery but, 
as already indicated, no action was taken 
before the end of the war. 

Desirable Organization for Army-Navy 

While the Draper-Strauss report was 
under consideration General Somervell 
hoped it would be possible to create joint 

30 Draper-Strauss Rpt: I, contains all the interim 
reports and the final report. 

31 Somervell purposely stayed out of all discussion 
about the Draper-Strauss report, for he did not want 
any charge of empire-building against him to arise 
and complicate the situation. 

32 Memo, Dir of Purchases ASF for USW, 4 Jul 45, 
sub: Progress Rpt on Joint Navy- Army Procurement 
Project, Hq ASF, Purchases Files, CG ASF. 



Army-Navy machinery in the procure- 
ment field comparable to that which had 
been built up under the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff. He felt that such an arrangement 
would be entirely feasible, even though in 
many respects he was inclined to believe 
that the JCS machinery was not entirely 

The elaborate structure of committees 
and subcommittees functioning under the 
JCS were all intended to bring about nec- 
essary co-operation between the armed 
forces in overseas operations. As far as the 
Army Service Forces was concerned the 
most important of these committees was 
the Joint Logistics Committee, which re- 
viewed strategic plans in the light of avail- 
able supply and transportation resources. 
Through this and other committees the 
various agencies of the War and Navy De- 
partments arrived at a common under- 
standing of what was to be done. Each 
department then proceeded more or less 
on its own to carry out these agreements. 
It remained for the single commander in 
the field to weld the Army, Navy, and Air 
Forces components assigned to his com- 
mand into a unified military operation. 

Somervell was not always satisfied with 
these arrangements, as noted earlier. One 
of the steps he took, through General 
Lutes, his deputy, was to persuade Ad- 
miral Nimitz in the Central Pacific to 
create a joint Army-Navy staff, with an 
Army officer in charge of logistics. Somer- 
vell even went further on one occasion 
when he recommended that there be a 
unified Army-Navy supply and trans- 
portation system in the Pacific. 33 The 
Navy was not enthusiastic about the pro- 
posal, since the top operations command 
of the Navy believed that prospective 
naval activities in the Pacific would differ 
too much from those of the Army to per- 
mit a single supply and transportation 

service. For example, the Navy was al- 
ready planning the "floating" supply sys- 
tem which in 1944 was to enable combat 
task forces to remain at sea much longer 
than previously thought possible. 34 But 
even so, Somervell was convinced that 
much waste motion would be avoided by 
joint action in overseas supply and trans- 
portation, especially as the number of 
common problems increased with the 
establishment of more and more advance 
bases in the steady progress across the 
Pacific. 35 

Many common Army- Navy concerns in 
supply and in nonprocurement operations 
began back in the United States. Somer- 
vell enumerated some of these when he 
testified before the House Select Commit- 
tee on Postwar Military Policy on 26 April 
1944. 36 An Ocean Shipping Section of the 
Army and Navy Munitions Board (it was 
so designated even though the ANMB had 
ceased to exist) was a body for bringing to- 
gether Army and Navy officials concerned 
with port operations, especially in the San 
Francisco Bay area. In the early days of 
the war there was considerable competi- 
tion between the Army and Navy for 
piers, warehouses, and other loading facil- 
ities. President Roosevelt spoke to Somer- 
vell about the situation on one occasion, 
and Somervell went to work at once to 
push for Army-Navy collaboration on the 

33 CD Rpt 34, Unified Supply Service and Unified 
Transportation Service for the Army and Navy, Dec 
42, CD, ASF. 

34 For an account of these arrangements and the 
Navy point of view, see Duncan S. Ballantine, U.S. 
Naval Logistics in the Second World War (Princeton, 
N. J., Princeton University Press, 19+7). 

35 For fuller treatment, see Bykofsky and Larson, 
Activities in the Oversea Commands; Leighton and 
Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare, 1941-1943. 

36 Hearings before the Select Committee on Postwar Mili- 
tary Policy, H. R., 78th Cong, 2d Sess, on Proposal to 
Establish a Single Department of Armed Forces, Pt. 1 , 
pp. 96-1 11. 



west coast. 37 A Storage Control Board was 
set up in 1944 to prevent competition for 
storage space along the west coast, and 
some joint use of storage facilities followed. 
A Joint Military Transportation Commit- 
tee, on which General Gross represented 
the Army, studied ocean shipping plans 
and adjusted various military cargoes to 
available shipping space. An Army-Navy 
Allocations Committee worked with the 
War Shipping Administration in the ac- 
tual process of allocating cargo vessels to 
both services. In San Francisco a Pacific 
Coast Ship Repair and Conversion Com- 
mittee and a Joint Routing and Schedul- 
ing Committee were set up, representing 
the Army, Navy and WSA. Co-operation 
was complicated by the existence of vary- 
ing procedures. The Army exercised a 
close central control over surface transport 
while the Navy left most of the control to 
the commandants of Naval districts or to 
the chiefs of sea frontiers. 

In addition to noting these supply and 
transportation methods General Somer- 
vell called the attention of the House com- 
mittee to two other arrangements. A Joint 
Communications Board under the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff provided a means for com- 
mon action on some communications 
problems, although no standardization of 
engineering and operating practices in this 
field was ever realized. A Joint Army- 
Navy Committee on Welfare and Recrea- 
tion provided a clearinghouse for exchang- 
ing information and materials on educa- 
tional and other services to armed forces 

But in Somervell's eyes all of these ar- 
rangements in procurement, in supply, 
and in other fields, did not seem to go far 
enough. Too much depended upon volun- 
tary co-operation, leaving many impor- 
tant fields uncovered. Thus, there were 
separate storage operations in the interior 

of the United States, separate maintenance 
facilities for the repair of automotive and 
other equipment, separate rail transporta- 
tion arrangements, separate hospital sys- 
tems, separate construction activities, sep- 
arate military police practices, separate 
fiscal systems, and separate personnel 

Like other military officers Somervell 
was convinced that the JCS machinery 
had accomplished much, and he hoped 
that joint procurement machinery would 
extend co-operative arrangements further 
in this field. But in the long run, he be- 
lieved the existing staff structure would 
prove inadequate. On this point Somervell 
joined with others in advocating a single 
department of national defense with a sin- 
gle chief of staff and general staff. He be- 
lieved that on procurement, supply, and 
other matters, such a unified staff could 
and would do much to establish joint pro- 
cedures and unified operations between 
the Army, Navy, and Air Forces. 

Somervell parted company with other 
ranking officers of the War Department in 
his belief that in the future there should be 
four component branches of the nation's 
armed forces: an Army (the ground 
forces), a Navy, an Air Force, and a Serv- 
ice Force (to perform procurement, sup- 
ply, and many other services for all com- 
bat forces). 38 His thinking was based upon 

37 In a letter to the President on 10 August 1943, 
Somervell transmitted information about how the 
Army and Navy were then working together in the 
San Francisco area. The President expressed his ap- 
preciation on 16 August. This letter is filed in Hq 

38 Somervell's ideas on this score were briefly out- 
lined in Hearings before the Select Committee on Postwar 
Military Policy, H. R., 78th Cong, 2d Sess, on Proposal 
to Establish a Single Department of Armed Forces, Pt. 
1 , p. 111. They were never developed in detail, 
although Somervell returned to this theme in 1948 
when testifying before the Eberstadt task force of the 
(Hoover) Commission on Organization of the Execu- 
tive Branch of the Government. 



two primary considerations. In the first 
place, he believed in 1944 and thereafter 
as he had believed in 1941, that procure- 
ment and supply were too inextricably 
combined to warrant two separate super- 
visory organizations. He was willing in 
1945 to contemplate a Joint Chiefs of Staff 
and a Joint Materiel Chiefs only because 
on the Army side he expected to combine 
procurement and supply in his own person 
and at the same time be subordinate on all 
operational matters to the Army Chief of 
Staff. As a long-term proposition, how- 
ever, he thought this a faulty concept of 
organization. Second, he believed that 
only a single command under one person 
would be able to achieve maximum econ- 
omy in the purchase and supply of com- 
mon items of equipment and in the per- 
formance of various services for the three 
combat forces. In other words, Somervell 
was so convinced of the usefulness of the 

Army Service Forces as a War Department 
organizational arrangement that he wished 
to see it applied to all the armed forces in 
terms of a single service force to procure 
military supplies and participate in all 
matters pertaining to national economic 

Postwar events are not a proper part of 
this present volume. It may be interesting 
to glance beyond 1945, however, to note 
that when the National Security Act of 
1947 was passed, it did not provide for a 
fourth military command, a service force. 
It did create a Munitions Board under the 
Secretary of Defense to exercise some 
supervision over procurement and supply 
operations of the Army, Navy, and Air 
Force. While this board had new fields to 
conquer, it also operated in fields that had 
already been explored by voluntary Army- 
Navy collaboration and by the Draper- 
Strauss report. 


The Procurement Role of 

the ASF 

Out of its experience with civilian agen- 
cies, and especially from the controversy 
with the WPB, the ASF tried to advance 
a definite opinion regarding the relation- 
ships which should exist between key civil- 
ian agencies and military procurement 
agencies during economic mobilization. In 
a general way such relationships had been 
more or less assumed in the industrial mo- 
bilization plans prepared before World 
War II. But the war itself was the testing 
ground where the practicability of those 
ideas was determined. 

It fell to the lot of the Army Service 
Forces, and particularly to General Som- 
ervell, to demonstrate that though both 
types of agencies, civilian and military, 
might have different administrative roles 
to perform, they could nonetheless work 
together in what was necessarily a joint 

In attempting to make the fullest use of 
the nation's resources in carrying on the 
war, there never was more than one alter- 
native to an organization under which 
civilian and military agencies worked to- 
gether. That alternative was to remove all 
military procurement operations from 
under the direction of the armed forces 
and to turn them over to civilian agencies 
which would be responsible for both gen- 
eral economic mobilization and military 

procurement. The possibility that eco- 
nomic mobilization might be turned over 
to the military was never contemplated by 
the responsible civilian secretaries or mili- 
tary chiefs of the armed forces during 
World War II. Certainly this writer can 
assert with absolute assurance that Gen- 
eral Somervell never for a moment felt 
that the military services should assume 
responsibility for economic mobilization. 
On the other hand, he was strongly op- 
posed to the idea that military procure- 
ment should be turned over to the civilian 
agencies which were directing economic 

The essence of Somervell's position, and 
that of Secretary Stimson and Under 
Secretary Patterson, and all their princi- 
pal associates, was simply this: in arming 
the military forces in a time of all-out war 
effort, the nation's economic resources had 
to be called upon to provide in abundance 
the weapons necessary to defeat the en- 
emy. This meant a large-scale shift of pro- 
ductive resources — manpower, raw mate- 
rials, and industrial plant — from ordinary 
consumer goods to military goods. In the 
process there was bound to be a diminu- 
tion in the supply of goods and services 
available for civilian consumption. 

The modern concept of war is one of a 
struggle between national economies. It 



involves not merely an economic potential 
to produce great quantities of weapons but 
a nation's actual output. Only when the. 
economic resources of a nation are readily 
available for the output of military equip- 
ment on a large scale can its armed forces 
benefit from its productive capacity. And 
modern strategy of warfare — certainly the 
American strategy of warfare — has now 
become based in large part upon the con- 
cept of supply superiority — that is, the em- 
ployment of overwhelming quantities of 
military equipment against the enemy. 1 
Strategy has always depended in some 
measure upon logistics, but perhaps we 
are now more dependent upon this factor 
in our military thinking and action than 
ever before. 2 Accordingly, economic mo- 
bilization is one of the essential elements 
of total warfare. 

In the War Department point of view 
economic mobilization during World War 
II had two interrelated but nonetheless 
separate features. First, there was military 
procurement: the determination of supply 
needs, the design and specification of wea- 
pons, the contracting with certain indus- 
tries (those making end-items of equip- 
ment) for the delivery of specified quanti- 
ties of weapons, scheduling and expediting 
the delivery of weapons, inspection for 
contract performance, the issuance of de- 
livery instructions, and the payment of 
contract prices for items delivered. In all 
these relationships the military procure- 
ment agencies should have direct access to 
contractors unimpeded by intervention of 
a third party. Second, there was economic 
mobilization in a more general sense: the 
central control of the common resources 
of the nation needed to realize military 
procurement goals and at the same time to 
keep the entire national economy func- 
tioning. This involved a determination of 

total productive resources available for 
military procurement; necessary action to 
increase the supply of manpower, raw ma- 
terials, and productive facilities; produc- 
tion and delivery scheduling of the manu- 
facturers of raw materials, civilian goods 
(transportation equipment, electric power 
systems, food distribution facilities, etc.), 
and common industrial goods used both 
by the military and civilian producers 
(ball bearings, motors, copper wiring, 
etc.); control of the use of transportation 
facilities; price control; rationing of civil- 
ian supplies; war financing; economic 
warfare and foreign trade; and many other 
duties. These were responsibilities for civil- 
ian agencies in a period of all-out war 

Throughout the war the War Depart- 
ment tried to make clear that it was pos- 
sible and desirable to have military 
procurement agencies and civilian control 
agencies working together but with some- 
what different responsibilities in effecting 
economic mobilization for war. 

Military Procurement 

From the time that the War Depart- 
ment was first set up in 1 789, it had en- 
joyed the statutory authority to purchase 
military supplies. Under ordinary peace- 
time conditions military procurement and 
supply was a problem of internal War De- 
partment organization and procedures. 
These activities raised few questions of 
broad economic importance. Even during 
the Civil War the procurement operations 
of the Union Army apparently proceeded 

1 For an interesting interpretation of this point of 
view, see Dennis W. Brogan, The American Character 
(New York, Harper & Brothers, 1944), Pt. III. 

2 John D. Millett, "Logistics and Modern War," 
Military Affairs, IX (Fall 1945), 193. 



without much concern for their impact 
upon the economic resources of the nation. 
It was not until World War I that our gov- 
ernment acted on the theory that military 
procurement must be integrated into the 
general program for utilization of the na- 
tion's total productive resources. Indus- 
trial mobilization planning from 1920 to 
1940 was based upon this proposition. 
President Roosevelt acted upon it in May 
1940 when he set up the Advisory Com- 
mission to the Council of National De- 
fense. There was never any real doubt 
that military procurement in wartime 
meant economic mobilization for war. The 
War Department, however, still retained 
its responsibility for military procurement. 
The economic mobilization of national in- 
dustrial resources, from the Army's point 
of view, did not involve the removal of 
procurement responsibilities from the War 

As noted above, the NDAC in 1940 and 
then the Office of Production Manage- 
ment in 1 94 1 , gave their primary attention 
to helping the War and Navy Departments 
expand and improve their military pro- 
curement operations. Between the two 
wars the procurement bureaus of the War 
Department were mere skeleton organiza- 
tions. Even between June 1940 and De- 
cember 1941 they had been slow in 
building up their internal operations by 
commissioning or hiring top-ranking civil- 
ians for key positions. The War Depart- 
ment needed and did in fact obtain major 
assistance from both the NDAC and the 

After mid- 1941, however, the War De- 
partment felt that some of the persons who 
had provided this initial help in building 
up procurement organization and meth- 
ods should be absorbed within the Depart- 
ment itself. After 9 March 1942, for exam- 

ple, General Somervell asked Mr. Nelson 
to release Mr. William H. Harrison, head 
of the WPB Production Division and a 
former vice-president of American Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Company. This was 
done. Harrison was commissioned a briga- 
dier general, and eventually as a major 
general was placed in charge of the entire 
procurement program of the Signal Corps. 
A number of his assistants were likewise 
brought into the Army. 3 

The shift of key personnel from the cen- 
tral civilian agencies to the military pro- 
curement agencies of the Army Service 
Forces represented, in Army thinking, 
merely one step toward total wartime 
economic mobilization. This move was in 
the accepted tradition which held that in 
time of national emergency, the military 
skeleton organization would expand by 
bringing in civilians to man our defenses 
in every sphere of activity from procure- 
ment to combat. The main impulse for this 
expansion was supposed to come from 
within the military agency since military 
procurement operations could best be 
handled by the armed forces themselves. 

There were some groups in WPB which 
developed an opposite point of view, a 
point of view which held that the military 
procurement power rightly belonged to 
the WPB under the provisions of Execu- 

3 The accusation has sometimes been made that 
personnel taken over by the Army from WPB were 
slighted or ignored. For example, an editor of Har- 
per's writes: "Consequently, he [Nelson] tried to in- 
filtrate his own men into the Army and Navy offices, 
to 'advise' procurement officers and 'review' con- 
tracts. These men were generally ignored, or were 
taken over by the military. A number were persuaded 
to accept commissions at high rank and then were 
tucked out of sight." John Fischer, "The Army Takes 
Over," Harper's Magazine, 190 (May 1945), 486. This 
assertion ignores the important and influential roles in 
the ASF of such persons as Col. D. C. MacKeachie, 
Brig. Gen. A.J. Browning, Maj. Gen. W. H. Harrison, 
Col. C. T. Wood, Mr. Robert T. Stevens, and others. 



tive Order 9024 which created the WPB, 
and that those powers were usurped by 
the military organization. In support of 
this view the official WPB history states, 
for example: 

Nelson was not aggressive about his juris- 
diction and his powers. He allowed ANMB to 
elude his grasp, although it was subordinate 
to him, and he permitted the War Depart- 
ment's Services of Supply, over which he said 
he had no control, to become something 
decidedly other than what he thought it 
should be. 4 

And at another point, it adds: 

Everything that WPB attempted to do 
with respect to procurement was conditioned 
by the primary fact that Nelson had dele- 
gated the power of actual procurement to the 
Services. 5 

The WPB history says in effect that 
there can be no effective mobilization of 
the nation's economic resources unless the 
central civilian direction of economic re- 
sources is combined with military procure- 
ment under a single administrative 

A genuinely effective control of procure- 
ment by WPB would have meant that it was 
in a position effectively to: (1) expedite war 
procurement; (2) achieve maximum use of 
existing facilities; (3) conserve critical re- 
sources; (4) eliminate competition between 
the procurement agencies; (5) further the 
maintenance of a sound national economy by 
the proper distribution of war contracts; (6) 
procure at the lowest total expenditure; and 
(7) develop uniform policies which would 
guide the procurement agencies in the reali- 
zation of these goals. To do this it would not 
be enough merely to enunciate policies; it 
was necessary to control the actual adminis- 
tration of procurement policies at the point 
of procurement. WPB would have to insert 
itself into the flow of procurement plans and 
orders so that it could clear appropriation re- 
quests for noncombat items to determine 
need and procurement program feasibility; 
clear purchase programs and schedules for 

sufficiency of supplies, timing of orders, and 
types of purchase transactions; and direct 
actual placement of orders. 6 

Aside from the jurisdictional issues in- 
volved this statement implies that if the 
War Production Board had been allowed 
to procure munitions, the over-all war pro- 
duction effort would have been strength- 
ened. The history apparently concludes 
that (1) there was no effective economic 
mobilization in World War II and (2) the 
explanation lies in Nelson's failure to in- 
sist upon a transfer of military procure- 
ment operations from the armed forces to 
the WPB. This point of view helps to ex- 
plain why ASF- WPB relationships were 
at times bitter. The War Department and 
the ASF argued throughout the war that 
organizationally, military procurement 
had to be integrated with military logistics 
and strategy. They consistently held that 
effective economic mobilization could be 
realized through close collaboration be- 
tween a central civilian agency and the 
military procurement agencies. The 12 
March 1942 agreement between the War 
Department and the War Production 
Board was a statement of respective re- 
sponsibilities that was entirely workable in 
practice, and the experience of the war 
years seemed to confirm this belief. 

At the end of 1942 and in early 1943, 
General Somervell and others in the War 
Department were alarmed by legislation 
introduced into Congress calling for the 
creation of a new "super" economic mo- 
bilization agency which would combine 
the WPB and the procurement activities 
of the armed forces. 7 

4 Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 211. 

5 Ibid., p. 521. 

6 Ibid., p. 524. 

7 S.2871, H.R.7742, 77th Cong, 2d Sess; S.607, 78th 
Cong, 1st Sess. 



Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, one 
of the sponsors of the proposal, explained 
his stand in an article in The New Republic 
entitled "To Smash the Final Bottleneck." 8 
He argued that the "least proper" agency 
to be placed in charge of "war produc- 
tion" was the military. He went on to as- 
sert that only if the military forces found 
that they had to depend upon another 
agency for their supplies would they be 
"held to a strict accounting, required to 
present its requirements in terms of a fully 
developed strategical program." He criti- 
cized the military forces for not turning 
"production" over to "production men 
from industry." 

Somervell was moved by this article to 
write a lengthy personal letter to Senator 
Pepper to explain the Army's point of 
view. 9 In it he expressed surprise and shock 
because of the Senator's unfriendly tone 
and apparent "faulty information." Som- 
ervell argued first of all that logistics and 
strategy were inseparable in war and that 
the armed forces' mission to defeat the na- 
tion's enemies could be fulfilled only if they 
had "complete responsibility and author- 
ity in a single chain of command" for the 
design, procurement, and distribution of 
weapons. In 1942, when the same kind of 
relationship was being developed between 
the War Industries Board and the armed 
forces that had been worked out in World 
War I, Somervell had insisted that it was 
not feasible to try to "rip" military pro- 
curement out of the whole process of deter- 
mining military strategy and providing the 
logistical resources for its execution. He 
identified the major steps in the flow of 
munitions as follows: 

a. Strategical and logistical planning. 

b. Development of need for all types of 
supplies and equipment based on that 

c. Research to develop new and improved 
weapons and other materiel. 

d. Production and testing of pilot models. 

e. Determination of facilities capable of 
producing the end-items of military supplies 
and equipment in sufficient quantities at the 
times required. 

f. Construction of production facilities 
where those existing are inadequate. 

g. Placing of contracts. 

h. Expediting and following up produc- 

i. Inspection for quality. 
j. Testing and proof firing. 

k. Providing shipping orders to the manu- 

/. Making transportation arrangements — 
domestic and overseas. 

m. Distribution through bases and inter- 
mediate depots, subdepots, holding and re- 
consignment points, and ports of embarka- 
tion to troops either in the United States or 

n. Maintenance of supplies and equip- 
ment, including procurement and distribu- 
tion of spare parts and tools, salvage, and 

These activities did not occur in se- 
quence, Somervell pointed out. Strategical 
planning continued throughout, and produc- 
tion programs were adjusted and read- 
justed in the light of battle experience. The 
various proposals for civilian control of 
purchasing and production would transfer 
at least those segments of the munitions 
flow listed in paragraphs e to i. "The effect 
would be to split an integrated process into three 
parts: The beginning and the end to be under the 
jurisdiction of the War Department, the middle 
to be under the jurisdiction of an independent 
civilian agency." With such a plan, it would 
be difficult to meet emergency needs, vir- 
tually impossible to differentiate between 
the functions of the various agencies, and 
in case of failure, to determine which was 

8 November 30, 1942 issue. 

9 Ltr, Somervell to Pepper, 5 Dec 42, Hq ASF. 



to blame. The Army's production achieve- 
ments had been great. Despite certain 
specific failures, many of which were not 
the fault of the services, military specialists 
and civilian experts, co-operating with 
committees from industry, had compiled 
a magnificent record. Germany had be- 
gun its all-out war effort in the early 1930's 
and was devoting 43 percent of its na- 
tional output to war; the United Kingdom 
began in 1936 and was concentrating 39 
percent of its production on war; the 
United States, which did not begin its ef- 
fort until the summer of 1940, was devot- 
ing 39 percent of its output to war. 

"For more than twenty years the War Depart- 
ment has been designing and developing improved 
weapons and teaching its officers and industry 
how they could be best produced," Somervell 
declared. To supplant these proven men 
and methods with untried personnel and 
unproven experiments would be bad 
enough at any time; in wartime it would 
be disastrous. In his opinion the Army 
should control the production of muni- 
tions because it was expert in weapons. 
The civilian agency still had the tremen- 
dous job of controlling raw materials, and 
semifinished products. This meant that 
War Department supply plans were based 
upon "an absolute control of the civilian 
economy in the hands of civilian emer- 
gency agencies." To imply that Army con- 
trol over the production of its own weapons 
was inefficient or would result in dictator- 
ship, General Somervell concluded, im- 
pugned the devotion to duty, the honesty, 
the loyalty, and the professional compe- 
tence which had always been the pride of 
the Regular Army. 

The arguments stated in the letter of 
Senator Pepper were reiterated on many 
subsequent occasions. When testifying be- 
fore the Senate Small Business Committee 

on 7 December 1942, General Somervell 
put the case more briefly: ". . . it is a 
cardinal principle of organization and of 
business administration that you cannot 
give a man a responsibility without giving 
him the authority to carry it out. Now, 
what you are advocating in this bill is to 
lift out of the middle of the Army's respon- 
sibility a piece of it and hand it over to 
somebody else, and yet hold the Army re- 
sponsible for winning the war." 10 

On 16 December 1942 Under Secretary 
Patterson told the Truman Committee 
that many people incorrectly assumed 
that the armed forces wanted to take the 
procurement of weapons away from other 
agencies and a few people absurdly be- 
lieved that the Army wanted to regiment 
the American economy. 11 All that the 
Army and Navy were defending during 
World War II was the right they already 
had of supervising the production of their 
own weapons. He illustrated dramatically 
how the flow of munitions from drawing 
board to battle was indivisible. Bomb fuses 
used for high altitude or dive-bombing 
were found to be unsatisfactory for the 
type of low-level bombing required in the 
Aleutian campaign. An ordnance officer 
who participated in the bombing attacks, 
flew back to Picatinny Arsenal, and de- 
signed a new fuse. He supervised produc- 
tion changes, and then rushed back to the 
Aleutians to teach others how to use the 
new fuses in battle. Such an accomplish- 
ment would have been difficult with 
"duality of control." The civilian War 

10 Hearings before the Special Committee to Study and 
Survey Problems of Small Business Enterprises, Senate, 
77th Cong, 2d Sess, on Smaller Concerns in War Pro- 
duction, 7 Dec 42, Pt. 11, p. 1551. 

11 Hearings before a Special Committee Investigating the 
National Defense Program, Senate, 77 th Cong, 2d Sess, 
16 Dec 42, Pt. 16, p. 6679. 



Production Board had a big job to do, Mr. 
Patterson declared, and was better quali- 
fied than the Army to mobilize industry, 
expand facilities, and distribute raw and 
semifinished materials. It also had to pro- 
vide civilian supply necessary to support 
the war effort. There was "no thought that 
the military departments should control 
the American economy." It was essential 
only that the armed forces procure muni- 
tions which they were best able to procure, 
while civilian agencies directed the econ- 
omy of the nation in support of the war 

In March 1943 Secretary of War Stim- 
son stated the case once again in a long 
and detailed letter to Senator Robert R. 
Reynolds, chairman of the Senate Com- 
mittee on Military Affairs. 12 The Secretary 
vigorously opposed an Office of War Mo- 
bilization with powers over military pro- 
curement. The job of providing the Army 
with munitions was continuous and indi- 
visible. Dual control would hurt military 
operations. The physical job of transfer- 
ring organizations and personnel was 
almost insurmountable. Relieving officers 
in wartime to serve with the new civilian 
agency would hurt morale. Above all, 
turning over a task as important as mili- 
tary procurement to an untried agency 
which might not be able to do the job was 
too great a risk to take. The War Depart- 
ment had the primary responsibility of 
defeating the enemy, and it ought not be 
deprived of tools necessary to accomplish 
its mission. 

When hearings were finally held on the 
proposal for an Office of War Mobilization 
by a subcommittee of the Senate Commit- 
tee on Military Affairs in May 1943, the 
War Department simply submitted a brief 
which was published as Exhibit 6. This 
brief answered specific questions sub- 

mitted by the committee about existing 
organizational arrangements. The brief 

research, design, engineering, con- 
tracting, production, inspection, testing, 
distribution, and maintenance of military 
equipment are essentially integral parts of a 
unified whole, and are necessarily so depend- 
ent on each other and on military planning 
and strategy that no part can be torn loose 
from the whole without serious injury to the 
entire operation and to the prosecution of the 
war. The fact that these operations can be 
abstracted from the unified whole for the 
purpose of description must not be permitted 
to mislead the Committee into thinking that 
they also can be segregated in their actual 
performance without disastrous conse- 
quences. 13 

Finally, the War Department trans- 
mitted to the Senate Committee on Mili- 
tary Affairs a booklet which presented the 
basic thinking of the War Department 
about its procurement responsibilities. 14 
Again, the arguments were those used 
before. First of all, in wartime as in peace- 
time, the Army should fix specifications 
for military equipment, let contracts for 
such equipment directly with manufac- 
turers, inspect contract performance, and 
accept final delivery of completed items 
for storage or immediate shipment to 
troops. Research and development, modi- 
fications in the light of war experience, 
and production improvements went along 
simultaneously with this whole process. 
Many ideas for change came from manu- 
facturers, but the Army insisted upon final 
decision on the basis of the specific combat 

12 Ltr, Stimson to Reynolds, 3 Mar 43, Hq ASF. 

11 Hearings before the Committee on Military Affairs, 
Senate, 78th Cong, 1st Sess, on S.607, War Mobiliza- 
tion, May 1943, Pt. 1, p. 229. 

14 Robert P. Patterson, Military Responsibility for 
Equipping the Armed Forces (Printed at Fort Bel- 
voir), 9 Feb 43. 



needs to be fulfilled. The Army wanted an 
unhampered relationship with contractors 
of end-items weapons so that it could 
make adjustments in design and produc- 
tion promptly, without seeking the con- 
currence of another agency. Second, the 
Army maintained that there was a need 
for civilian control of economic mobiliza- 
tion generally, and that there were vital 
tasks to be performed by such agencies as 
the WPB, the WMC, the OPA, and the 
National War Labor Board. Military pro- 
curement could not take place in wartime 
without the control over industrial re- 
sources exercised by these agencies. Third, 
there were necessarily vital relationships 
between military procurement by the 
Army and the Navy and economic mobi- 
lization as controlled by other agencies. 
The Army, for example, adjusted its sup- 
ply requirements downward in the light of 
available raw materials, manpower, and 
productive plant. The Army recognized 
that it, plus the Navy and the Maritime 
Commission, could not claim the entire 
available supply of raw materials. There 
were domestic transportation needs, utili- 
ties systems, clothing, food, shelter, and 
many other items essential to keep all in- 
dustrial production under way. But the 
Army asked that it be told approximately 
what it might expect in various resources 
and that it then be permitted to decide for 
itself how these might be most advanta- 
geously used in fixing and modifying pro- 
duction schedules. The Army thought 
that the relative spheres of competence 
between military procurement and eco- 
nomic mobilization could be drawn in 
general terms and that the necessary col- 
laboration could be realized by mutual 
adjustment and good will. 

This in brief was the War Department's 
argument for economic mobilization to be 

accomplished through two separate sets of 
agencies, one, the military agencies for 
military procurement, and the other, the 
civilian agencies for control of basic eco- 
nomic resources. The pattern of relation- 
ships which was actually established for 
the duration of World War II followed the 
lines indicated by the Army argument. 

In any event, Congress in 1943 did not 
enact the proposed legislation for a super 
agency combining central economic con- 
trols and military procurement. Legisla- 
tive action perhaps was discouraged or 
even forestalled by the President's action 
in May 1943 in creating an Office of War 
Mobilization in the executive office of the 
President and in appointing James F, 
Byrnes to head it. This step added a new 
organizational entity which had previ- 
ously been missing in Army thinking. The 
Byrnes office was not the super agency 
proposed in the pending legislation. It did 
not disturb the existing responsibilities of 
the military procurement agencies and of 
the central civilian control agencies. It 
became instead a formalized or institu- 
tionalized means whereby the President's 
top authority could be made effective in 
settling any controversies which might 
arise between the military and civilian 

The War Department subsequently 
never had reason but to welcome the ad- 
dition of this unit in the Executive Office of 
the President set up to exercise watchful 
and friendly oversight of all phases of 
economic mobilization. 

Did the Army Want Control of the Civilian 

The War Department case just sum- 
marized should be sufficient to disprove 
the charge that it wanted control of all 



machinery and of all policies governing 
mobilization of the nation's economic re- 
sources for war. But this charge was so 
frequently and irr